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master print article Print a Successful Catalog Today!

Category: Print

catalog printingThe catalog is a multi page presentation that offers plenty of room for images and copy. While catalogs are often used as product collateral, the booklet format is a familiar and flexible communications tool ideal for complimenting a direct marketing letter or using for annual reports. The style, design and photography of a catalog make it the perfect promotional mail in disguise. According to the PIA Digital Printing Council, just by having a superior quality front cover, revenue can increase by 30-40 percent. That said, let’s go ahead and look at the building blocks of successful catalog execution:

Beginning the Catalog

Every print project begins with an objective that will determine the look, the feel and presentation of your catalog. Once you have determined what you need to communicate, you can reach the right target groups with your product’s prices, style and fulfillment plan. You must also determine your budget. Being clear on your spending will help your designer choose the right papers, formats, printers and styles of your catalog. You can move forward by defining and organizing your products into groups for navigation and by designing the catalog format. The front cover is an important and forceful page, so do not clutter the cover with too many elements. Applicable elements that should be placed on the cover include the logo, tagline and volume. The cover should flow well with the inside front cover and internal pages. Your back cover is a space for the logo, return address, contact information, mailing panel or a feature product.

The Catalog Production Process

After you’ve planned the catalog layout and decided on the dimensions you must finalize your product data. At this point you are working on the master layout that has been sorted and categorized with images and copy. The master layout includes common page elements, grids, design themes and type specifications. Stick with product descriptive copy for consumer catalogs and if you are working on a business or technical catalog include any information corporate buyers may need to make informed purchase decisions. After you’ve completed and processed layout images, ensure that you have made a CMYK conversion.

Catalog Printing Suggestions

To save money and avoid printing delays there are a couple of catalog printing tips and suggestions you should make a note of. If you are pressed for time, consider adjusting to web press specifications. This will significantly speed up your printing. If your catalog meets a minimum quantity and page count, you can go ahead and work with this printing method. If you can organize your pages in increments of 32 for a catalog sized 8-3/8” x 10-7/8” or 64 for a 5-3/8” x 8-3/8” format, you will save considerable costs with the use of an 8 unit web press and less labor. You may also design a slightly smaller page width and save a considerable amount of money by reducing paper, freight and mailing costs. A standard catalog format is a 32 page 8-3/8” x 10-7/8”; the next cost effective format would be printed in 16 page increments on standard house paper.

To prevent direct mailing delays, submit your mailing list at least 7 days before the scheduled binding and addressing. You must also consider list cleansing and the calculation of estimated postage. When deciding on catalog specifications, you may be tempted to save money with a two color design. Research has shown that four color catalogs generate the best responses by grabbing more attention and generating more sales. If you have any additional questions pertaining to your catalog printing options, your printer will give you the necessary advice. Contact Master Print to get started on your catalog today!

Posted on Jul 23, 2010.

master print article How to Achieve the Digital Print Quality You’re Looking For

Category: Print

When designing print pieces for digital print production, one of the best practices to adapt is to proof consistently. Because digital proofs are printed on the actual production device to show an exact sample of the print piece, adjusting files, reviewing revised proofs and repeating the process for satisfaction ensures that each step of the process is monitored and optimal design capacity is reached.

Top of the line digital technology like the Xerox iGen4 pioneers color consistency, but optimizing larger areas of flat tints is still important. Digital color presses are excellent at reproducing color, but for larger areas the designer can choose lighter or darker percentages to ensure evenness. Imaging software like Adobe Photoshop can also assist with creating textures and patterns with mid tone tints or long blends to accommodate the larger areas.

With offset printing presses, black coverage over large areas is executed with rich blacks, which are created through a mixture in percentages of process colors. The Xerox iGen4 digital press utilizes an optimal formula that provides a 100 percent clean black, but other digital presses use process colors to improve solid black coverage. If your commercial printer is using a digital press like the Xerox iGen4, note that adding colors to a 100 percent black base will produce a colorful range of blacks that can be applied as a creative and not a necessary application.

While the use of image compression enables you to download files quickly and easily, it can cause the loss of valuable data and information which cannot be restored. Compressed files, like JPEGs must be opened with Adobe Photoshop and decompressed, or saved as TIFF or EPS files. Digital type reproduction is also much different from offset. It is possible that smaller typefaces will be more challenging on the digital press, but knockout types on black can work well. You must proofread the readability and effectiveness of your typefaces and ensure that the applicable changes are made.

In terms of resolution, if your print piece includes scans of text and line art you must produce a 600 to 1200 dpi. Continuous tone images will require a 300 dpi. If you are using variable data printing, increasing the resolution will have a minimal impact on continuous tone images and contain more data than is necessary. In terms of color and images, images with RGB will have a larger color gamut than CMYK. The programming of the digital press understands the optimal color translation to ensure color reproduction and flexibility.

Nonetheless, each print job will have specific requirements that must be met and the best way to ensure that your digital design meets your expectations is to seek advice from your printer on how to improve your proofs. Before you commit to any job with any printer, you should discuss your needs and feel out the experience and skill set of the printer.

Want to learn more about digital printing? Explore Master’s digital solutions here.

Posted on Jul 21, 2010.

master print article Create Buyer Personas by Defining Your Audience Part III

Category: Marketing

marketing data analysisTime and time again, marketers fail to apply their generated campaign data to future marketing campaigns. While, this is certainly an impediment to target marketing, a bigger concern is, how do you get generate the necessary data in the first place? In part III of our Buyer Persona discussion we will delve into the world of cross media marketing and diagram not just how to finalize our lead batches, but also what to do with them.

Once you have conducted a thorough analysis of prospective companies and their key players, you begin to look at the various marketing mediums and technologies that can enable your campaign to generate strong data and high returns. Why is it that 76% of marketers claimed to have no way to determine their return on investment from their lead agencies? Moreover, the majority of data that marketers have on their prospects and leads is never applied. The way a sale happens reaches far beyond a typical direct mail postcard. The road to success starts with data. What data is necessary and what do you do with it? Well, you have two solutions to this: you can generate the necessary data with cross media marketing and then you can use that data in print marketing campaigns that feature variables. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is.

The buyer persona, or lead, is a unique individual who possesses complex aspects of thought and behavior. That said, it is imperative to make that shift from mainstream email and web marketing to more innovation and integration. The use of multiple touchpoints throughout a campaign will give you plenty of avenues for data generation. How? Well let’s look at cross media marketing.

Taking your standard list, a cross media marketing service provider will generate a postcard, or other direct mail piece, with a unique offer and a unique personalized URL. Given, that your offer is appealing and you have a prospect visiting their own unique site, show time begins!

Once a visitor is captured onto a landing page, he or she will be prompted to answer colorful and strategic questions which are designed and generated with your marketing and sales goals in mind. In the meantime, the backend or dashboard, which you have access to, measures and monitors the responses and tracks and analyzes recipient data. This could be anything from preferred contact method, address updates, favorite color or birth date. Here, you must be thinking two things: one, how do I use this data and two, why do I need it? Excellent questions!

The data which you are viewing filters out the prospects and the leads. Those who are participating actively in your campaign will be players in your game; I mean, campaign. The dashboard eliminates costly and ineffective marketing efforts and allows you to zero in on your best customer profile. With the use of a cross media marketing campaign, you have in your possession clear, analytical data on where your prospect is at, what they are looking for, how you can meet their needs and ultimately an estimation on the ROI. The responses to the survey questions on the other hand, give you data that translates into post card wording, images and offers. According to the CMO Council's "State of Marketing Report," 62% of respondents surveyed claim that they plan to focus on analyzing customer data to improve segmentation and targeting. Surely, this is because without it, response rates are sinking.

Now that you know who is visiting your landing pages, clicking your links and what they are interested in, you are ready to send a coherent marketing strategy into execution. By sending alerts through media like email, text messaging, direct sales calls and, ultimately, highly targeted print pieces you will not only be “striking while the iron is hot” you will also be meeting specific customer needs and demonstrating value that stretches far beyond products and services: personalization.

Are you ready to play the game? Stay tuned for an upcoming post on total brand experience and you’ll be first in line to roll the cross media dice!

Posted on Jul 15, 2010.

master print article How To Setup and Design Business Cards in Adobe Illustrator

Category: Business

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Keywords: business card design, business card printing, printing, business cards, design business cards, business card, adobe illustrator tutorial, business card tutorial, business card inspiration

Posted on Jul 08, 2010.

master print article Create Buyer Personas by Defining Your Audience Part II

Category: Marketing

buyer persona marketingIn our first discussion we focused on the purchase process to create a key profile of behavioral attributes that are crucial to sales success, called the buyer persona. We discussed the various components of the marketing efforts tied to finding the most valuable customers. The next step to our analysis uncovers who the target is and analyzes whether they will be effectively involved in the sales process.

After you have successfully identified a company profile that defines the attributes of a key client list and have conducted an analysis of the commonalities and differences among the segments, you should have a pretty good diagram of identifiers. Attributes you should have clearly illustrated include the company vertical, the size, the distribution, geography and any specific identifiers that are leading indicators of potential sales success. This exercise not only helps you to shift your focus to the key people you want to reach, but also provides a core framework in which economic, executive, technical and influencer buyers are defined. This is much easier to understand, when you break down the behavioral attributes behind decision making.

The individuals that make up your target prospects will operate within a defined behavioral framework: Pain Points, Attraction and Validation. No matter if you are working with a sales cycle or creating print content, the approach here is universal. With pain points, a prospect is looking to avoid any potential threats to their set of actions, so that they can eliminate potential negative outcomes. Your goal is to address all things that trouble the prospect and position yourself as a motivational force behind rational decision making. If we look at attraction, which should be your ultimate goal and the result of effective company profiling, we see that there are a set of prospects that expect positive outcomes and focus primarily on the benefits accessible within their decisions. Validation, our last behavioral attribute, is tied to the decision making process. Validators require a third party consultation. If they require insight from third party research or from industry experts, then it is up to the marketer to integrate that into the marketing message or marketing material.

These attributes are great indicators of what the buying zone looks like and how to position things like need and timing, and ultimately determine what the media consumption habits are. This is the space where a media vehicle is chosen. With a clear understanding of consumption habits a targeted, relevant and effective message must be customized. However, the specific environment of the prospect is crucial to determining the positioning of the message and understanding a cross-promotion landscape. Consider the component of time-shifted consumption. Prospects are consuming media in digital and online formats are experiencing multiple viewing channels. This could give your print postcards, newsletters and self mailers a great deal of leverage. When you effectively cross market your marketing material, you work with a positioning that is more conducive to the world of shifting media.

OK. Let’s get down to business. How do we establish a lead scoring framework? Well, a buyer persona-driven marketing program supports an operation where the entire focus is based on leads. Overall, the lead score is simply a match of particular attributes to a prospect. Who meets most of the buyer persona attributes? Without a valuable incentive and data program in place you will have a harder time gathering the information that you need from the prospect to place them in this lead scoring framework. How are you working with your data and what information are you gathering?

We have gone over the necessary understanding of the buyer persona to help you develop a program and strategy where a sale is inevitable. The environment, in which the sale is courted, is called cross media marketing. Our last piece, will present to you how exactly one can access, extract and market to the buyer persona using cross media marketing.

Posted on Jul 06, 2010.

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