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master print article Does Print Contribute to the Economy?

Category: Print

Printers are massive contributors to the local and national economy. Shipping about $172 billion worth of print products yearly, the printing industry is one of the largest and most influential in the United States. Among the top 10 manufacturing industries, it accounts for more than one million well paying jobs with quality benefits.

Providing one of the most affordable and effective tools, print marketing is a direct outlet for businesses to reach consumers in their area. The majority of direct mail is a printed product or a graphic communication , but advertising mail, magazines, periodicals, bank statements and other print communications account for the majority of direct mail that American’s both request and receive.   The power of the printing industry can be largely attributed to its forefront placement at the head of digital and electronic innovation as well as it’s positioning to share its benefits across multiple industries. While the printing industry’s continual evolution is aimed to serve the needs of its consumers, communities, and the environment , the business tax revenue from  printing also brings revenue directly to municipal, county and state budgets.

As an integral part of daily life, print advertising and direct mail is a useful tool for millions of Americans; studies confirm that 8 out of every 10 households read or scan their direct mail. Advertising mail helps people identify small businesses, great values and relevant offers. There are approximately 37, 500 print shops in the U.S, with a local printing company in mostly every city or town. The print market segments vary, but primarily include commercial printing services , or the print production of brochures , flyers , business cards , wedding invitations and many other print products , book printing, catalog printing, direct mail servicing , inserts printing, coupon printing , digital package printing, label printing and various trade binding and fulfillment services.  

So, even though you may not think of your local print company as much more than a manufacture that supplies efficient print services , the totality of your business relationship transcends a much larger scale than just coming in for a quality print product! You are contributing to a lively, innovative and critical sector of the economy.

Posted on Oct 07, 2010.

master print article When I say that Variable Data Printing Increases Sales...

Category: Marketing

With modern print technology the answer is, yes! Communicating with your customers is not going to be expensive if you do it right. Are you sending direct mail pieces to people you haven't heard from in a while? Does the message you're sending them say the same thing that you're sending to your customers you hear from all the time? Are you sending relevant offers to your clients? Without the consideration of these analytics you will, literally, be at a loss for words...and money.

People don't want to talk to you if you aren't using the right words. This is the art of communication and it is also the art of digital printing. If you're intimidated by all of these new print marketing techniques-that's OK. Master Print does all the variable data printing, with YOUR data. Naturally, this brings us to the question, "How do I generate and track the data I need in order to ensure personalized print communications?"

Let's look at Alerus Financial's VDP Cross Media Campaign as an example. The use of personalized data tripled response rates in comparison to their use of static mailers containing no variables and converted 60% of those VDP respondents into new customers.


A first drop of communications from Alerus was a VDP self-mailer with a PURL. A second drop, an on-demand printing postcard with another PURL, was sent out to all those who did not respond to the first drop. Postcard initiative responses were tracked as phone calls, visits to each landing page, submitted contact forms, and click throughs for Alerus. Response rates confirmed that creating a different look for segmented demographics (3 age groups) was more effective than not varying the creative. Out of all three goups the 25-36 age demographic contained the highest response rate. 59.46 of those that responded to the variable data mail segment converted to new customers for Alerus.

Posted on Sep 17, 2010.

master print article Boost Profits! Stop Attrition! (And keep customers hooked)

Category: Business

One of those ways is using the more intimate, personalized nature of 1:1 communications to reduce customer attrition. According to Attrition Busters, it costs the average company eight dollars to replace every one dollar lost to customer attrition. If you could use data to hold onto your customers longer,
that has both an immediate and a longterm impact on your profitability.

Customer attrition is different from customer retention. Customer retention is about keeping your existing customers happy. Customer attrition is the actual defection of those customers. Preventing attrition is something that is often done on a highly targeted basis based on the likelihood that a customer will defect. The risk of customer defection can be a scary thing. But handled correctly, customers on the verge of defection can become your most loyal customers if you handle the situation right.

Whether you are watching customer churn manually or by using specialized software (or just reacting to irate customer phone calls), you can use 1:1 printing as a powerful tool to reduce customer churn and boost your bottom line.

One courier service, for example, used to anticipate defections by manually tracking its customer activity levels. When it got too large to do this by hand, it invested in software that detects likely customer churn by tracking drop-offs in volume or revenues. The software then sends the company an alert so it can address the issue right away—before it’s too late to get the customer back. Using this proactive approach, the courier service has been able to reduce its customer attrition by double digits.

The Top Four Uses of Customer Data Source: One to One Printing

1. Make personal contact.
Talk to each customer personally. Make them feel that they are more than just a name in a database.

2. Find out what happened.
Find out what’s happening and how they feel about your company, products and services. Send them a personalized survey via personalized URL. Or send a hard copy survey in a personalized greeting card.

3. Respond quickly.
Respond to their feedback in a timely manner. Let them know that you appreciate their input. Send them a printed personalized coupon or other incentive of immediate relevance to them.

4. Nurture the relationship.
Once you’ve prevented a defection, nurture that relationship with other personalized and relevant communications to keep that customer close and build their loyalty over time.

Find out more about how 1:1 marketing can become part of your marketing success strategy. Read about tracking your customers by using a campaign dashboard.

Posted on Sep 08, 2010.

master print article Should you be customer profiling?

Category: Business

In casual conversation, the word “profiling” often has a negative connotation, but in marketing, it is a driving force behind success. Building a customer profile helps you understand your customers’ attitudes, interests and preferences, and tailor your marketing to these and other factors relevant to their buying behavior.

How does it work?

To create targeted campaigns, marketers typically do a basic select by some kind of relevant demographic. A travel agency might select consumers of retirement age, for example, because they tend to have more leisure time. Customer profiles take this a step further, layering on home ownership, median home value and other factors that provide insight into disposable income. It might include whether or not they have purchased a vacation in the past.

How do you develop a profile of your customers?

Smaller marketers often have little data to work with, but tools for getting around this are exploding.

1.    You can purchase data cuts of increased detail.

For a few more dollars per thousand, you can purchase a more refined data select than a single cut. In the earlier example, this might be a list of consumers aged 65 or older who own homes worth at least $150,000 and have purchased at least one vacation in the past 12 months. The trick is to balance the increased cost of the data with the likelihood that it will bring a greater return. This is where testing becomes critical. The more you test, the more you know what brings additional value and what does not.

2.    You can append your existing list with additional data.

If you have an existing customer list, you can do what is called an “append,” or purchase additional data on those same customers that will create a relevant customer profile. You can do this even if you have nothing but an e-mail list. It’s called a “reverse append.”

3.    You can purchase complete customer profiles from list companies like Accudata, Nielsen and Dun & Bradstreet.

These companies are increasingly providing packaged solutions aimed at helping small and mid-sized business owners with an overall demographic overview of customers who spend the most money in their markets. These include both standard selects like median household income and business standard industrial classification (SIC), as well as proprietary categories like “wealth scores” and “super niches.” Customer profiling sounds like a scary word, but even for smaller marketers, it doesn’t have to be. Talk to us about creating a customer profile and taking your targeted and personalized marketing to the next level.

Posted on Aug 24, 2010.

master print article Do you know how to effectively use response boosters?

Category: Marketing

one to one printingWhat this means is that personalization gets you in the door. It grabs attention. In the eyes of the recipient, it marks the communication as relevant or interesting. But there are many things that can occur between the time the mailer catches someone’s eye and the time that person responds.

If you look through a series of case studies on 1:1 print marketing, whether using personalized URLs (PURLs) or other forms of personalization, marketers with the highest response rates tend not to rely on variable fields alone to motivate recipients to action. There is always some other element present that synergizes with the variable information to make it happen. For example, when a high-profile manufacturer of software for 1:1 printing and cross-media solutions wanted to promote attendance at its trade show booth, it used PURLs as the response mechanism to gather information and track responses. Nearly half of recipients—48%—registered for the event or separate publicity raffle. But the drivers were not due solely to the PURL itself. First, the marketer started with a well-qualified list of prospects. Then it used a Starbucks gift card as an incentive to respond. Finally, it followed up with a personalized e-mail to non-responders.

Common Response Boosters

Let’s look at some of the most common, industry-wide techniques that marketers combine with personalization to maximize response rates.

1. Targeted audience. High response rates are most often the result of having a highly targeted audience that, by virtue of demographics or psychographics, is more likely than average to respond. A home furnishings company, for example, might target first-time homeowners. A lawn care company might send specials on lawn care kits to existing customers who recently purchased a high volume of grass seed.

2. Use of unusual design elements.
Personalization can have a powerful impact, but only if people see it. To attract recipients’ attention in the first place, marketers often start with unusual design elements, such as oversized postcards, clear envelopes or lumpy mail.

3 Utilization of multiple media.
Effective campaigns use multiple media to reinforce the message and remind people to respond. The use of personalized follow-up e-mails is a common technique.

4. High value incentive.
This technique is common in applications using PURL campaigns, especially campaigns for lead generation or information gathering, such as customer feedback or prospect surveys. To motivate recipients to respond, marketers might offer a gift or monetary incentive, such as a restaurant gift card or entry into a sweepstakes.

Pick Your Team! Personalization is a powerful tool, but it’s not a magic wand. Just as we don’t expect athletes to carry their team to glory all by themselves, you shouldn’t expect personalization to carry the load alone, either. Like all marketing elements, personalization works best when it is part of a collective effort. Find out more about how 1:1 marketing can become part of your marketing success strategy.

Posted on Aug 12, 2010.

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