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master print article Which is REALLY greener: Print or Digital Media?

Category: Environment

print and digital media sustainabilityIf you have an idea but have not dedicated the time to analyze the irony behind the oh-so-popular slogan “Please consider the environment before printing this email,” then you may be in for a surprise.

Digital media has done a great job of implying that it is the environmentally preferable choice and that print media is destructive. It is quite evident for one who has delved into the research of electronic impacts on the environment that it is indeed one of the more wasteful, destructive and unmonitored practices on the media market. Centuries ago the adaptation of paper launched literacy and changed the world of communication. It is attributed to ending the dark ages and spawning a renaissance. None-the-less, it is being placed within an entrapment of negativity. The truth is that going paperless is not so green.

Digital media uses a preposterous amount of energy from coal fired power plants. It is estimated by Greenpeace that in ten years data centers will require more electricity than is demanded by France, Germany, Brazil and Canada combined! The destruction of over 600 square miles of forest in the U.S. is attributed not to paper but to computers, cellular networks and data centers. One of the more significant and direct causes of deforestation is mountaintop removal from coal mining. Just because this occurs behind the invisible curtains and is out of sight does not mean that it is not detrimental to the environment. In fact, the Appalachian Mountaintop coal removal is responsible for 23% of all U.S coal production and 57% of the electricity generated in this nation is from coal-including the power consumed by consumer electronic devices, networks and data centers.

The U.S Department of Energy reports that the consumption of power by data centers has doubled from 2000 to 2006 reaching an all time high at 60 billion kilowatt hours per year. Just so that you can visualize this amount, it is equated to the total electricity used by 559, 608 households in one year. It is projected that this will double in 2011. I am not telling you to eliminate your electronic usage and live in the Middle Ages but in order for you to make the most responsible communications choice you must make an informed one that includes a rational trade off. Coal powered digital media isn’t a one way street to destruction. Aside from deforestation, the power plants generate 93% of the sulfur dioxide and 80% of the nitrogen oxide of the electric utility industry. Mountaintop coal mining destroys extensive tracts of deciduous forest (which is used for reforestation) and seeps it’s harm into the animal and plant life. The process clear-cuts the topsoil to scrape it away, and then it uses massive explosives to blast the mountain tops to finally dump tons of the fill into adjacent valleys.

The print industry is not perfect, but it does give you the opportunity as a consumer to make a better choice. While the industry is targeted for chopping down trees the majority of the power of the paper industry is from renewable biomass sourced from sustainably managed forests. When you make a paper choice you should consider if the brand invests in renewable energy projects and comes from sustainable managed forests. Visit the Master Print sustainability section to see how you can green your print job or ask us about environmental options for your project.

Posted on Apr 14, 2010.

master print article Web-to-Print Transforms Access America’s Sales Literature

Category: Print

Market leaders in the insurance industry are always looking for creative, innovative and simple web2printsolutions for their agents and customers to use their services. This Access America case study illustrates the Web-to-Print solution and conveys the benefits of direct ordering.

Web-to-Print solutions are browser based applications used to facilitate commerce and customer service interaction; they are composed of any of range of these features: page design, file submission, catalog ordering, order entry, versioning (variable data), job tracking, soft proofing, online payment, shipping and inventory management. The print solutions are available round the clock to process orders during non-operating hours and from remote locations. They provide the end user with a quick quote and the ability to track the order through their dashboard. When Access America chose to improve the effectiveness of their sales literature, the company began to look for ways to transform the brochure into a marketing piece and increase the efficiency of their processing flow.

The work began with taking copy from existing brochures to create variable mock ups. The development process then integrated a Web-to-Print solution so that agencies could order from 14 different brochures online. The website was then customized, featured shipping automation software, included quantity control, exception handling and billing along with the ability for Access America to see details on pending orders, exceptions that are waiting approval and order history. Next, order fulfillment details like paper choices, size, variable data and shipping methods were integrated into this solution development. The variable data components consisted of the logo, agency name and contact information while the production process included a built in automation feature to prevent errors. A control sheet is also available in order to scan and obtain labels for UPS shipment. To begin ordering, the agency staffer chooses a type/themed brochure, they then upload their logo and contact information while the system adds an identification number which is utilized for sales tracking.

This marketing solution reduced the company’s internal fulfillment workload, encouraged agencies to sell the company’s insurance and developed a process for creating customized brochures. Within the first 6 months of implementing this solution, Access America was able to get 6,000 agencies to use Web-to-Print and reduced their fulfillment mistakes to nearly zero.

If you would like to design your own Web-to-Print solution, contact Master Print for a consultation.

Posted on Apr 13, 2010.

master print article How has print technology matched database technology?

Category: Marketing

commercial printMarketing has a long drawn out history and reputation of multiple trial and error strategies and tactics to get a prospective client or customer to do something which you want them to do. Let me introduce to you inverse psychology. What if the customer wants to do that which you want them to do?

The reality is that this has nothing to do with sales; if anything, the sales part is only 10% of the overall big picture. The foundation of marketing is primarily psychological, meaning that you, the marketer, are also a psychologist and a catalyst to the fulfillment of the customer’s need. That which the customer is lacking may or may not be cognizant to them and it is your job to cultivate that awareness and move it to the forefront of their mind. Let’s break this down. You CANNOT attempt to be the answer to a problem that does not exist. Who is your target and what do they need? If you are not asking this question you are missing a fundamental component to your approach.

This examination presents you with two options: the first is that you can generate a need for and of yourself, your product or service. This means thinking out of the box on all the variables of your direct mail piece. The case study we posted yesterday is a great example. The images of the old cell phones trigger the thought of purchasing upgraded or new phones. The second option you have is to tailor yourself, your product or service to the already existing need (typically they are aware of this need and if not, this is your opportunity to highlight it). Both avenues can be utilized and both can and will be a success if you know who you are counseling. How you do the counseling is what your printer executes when you provide the vital information--the database.

I highly suggest that as a marketer you choose to work with a printer offering consulting services, digital technology, Variable Data software and high quality presses. These are the ingredients that will take your database and create with it a print piece that aims to target only that which is applicable to the solution or the goal. Universally, the goal is for you to provide for your client three things: resonation, gain (or profit) and conviction (or trust). You can induce these three components and activate them through your print piece simply by providing the printer with a database of names, titles, purchase history, company culture, income, family composition or whatever else you have. Your company is unique in that it has a customer relationship with your target and even if that is not the case you should have an idea of whom your ideal customer is and strategically identify components of their corporate and private life.

In order to leverage whatever data it is that you have to work with to convey your message and achieve a high level of persuasion you must merge it with digital print. The result is a product that is a personalized and creative targeted offer that matches the customer profile and preferences. This also positions you right where you want to be: as a resource for the fulfillment of the customers need.

Posted on Apr 09, 2010.

master print article Cellcom Variable Data Direct Mail Marketing Campaign Generates 22% Response Rate

Category: Marketing

variable data printingVariable data printing is used by savvy marketers all over the world from Europe to Asia and is well on its way to trade marking this age of digital print. None-the-less, many direct mailers are still losing valuable time, money and resources by choosing to stick to their static communication operations. The telecommunications market is a competitive world with an ever evolving list of new technology and product features. The potential of variable use in direct mail has spotlighted success in campaigns that have tripled the response rates of their previous mailer strategies.

Cellcom, the largest locally owned and operated communications service provider in Wisconsin, used top of the line variable data software and a DocuColor 2060 digital press to launch their variable data direct mail campaign. The company goal was to encourage their existing customers to upgrade their cell phones. Cellcom had hundreds of customers with older model cell phones. The problem was that these phones were not compliant with emergency response system specifications. The Federal Communications Company would be charging a fine for each cell phone account that was not in compliance, igniting multiple marketing attempts to customers to upgrade their phones. The response rates were no more than 2%.

While Cellcom did not have much data to use in their campaign (not even the exact model of the customer’s existing phone), the marketing pieces were designed so that the verbiage and images of older cell phones would resonate with the target group and convey the marketing message. The full color post cards were designed to be fun, attractive and eye catching. Each was customized with the recipients name in the headline, included a personalized gift certificate and an offer on the back.

The campaign heralded 22% of the 1,149 mailer recipients to upgrade their cell phones. Moreover, Cellcom has since carried out 5 more similar campaigns all with an average response rate of 21 %. If you would like to schedule a direct mail consultation and generate an outline for variable data target mailing, contact us here.

Posted on Apr 08, 2010.

master print article Larry Selland Technical College Uses Personalization to Increase Enrollment by 15%

Category: Marketing

integrated mediaDeclining enrollment rates at the Larry Selland Technical College, a division of Boise State, gave the vertical market an opportunity to exemplify the power of a well designed personalized marketing campaign. The significant results of the “Yes. You Can!” themed campaign yielded such a high ROI that the college has expanded their use of personalized communications from using personalization only in admissions direct mail to personalizing post cards and invites for registrations, orientations and events.

With a target audience of undergraduate students from rural and agricultural settings, the multiple piece mailing was designed and produced to convince prospect students that they can get into college and get a job. Growing internal competition with Boise State as well as external competition with other institutions, in addition to a limited budget, posed unique challenges to the college. Boise’s metropolitan distinction discounted the role of the community technical college which provides basic academic programs to a demographic of struggling prospects with financial hardships. The campaign had to be loud enough to cut through the fear factor instituted by Boise’s loud banner, which states, "Boise State has the highest admissions standards in the state.” While the marquee was excellent for funding donors and raising funds, it was turning away students that Selland Technical College was trying to attract.

The director of Boise State’s Printing and Graphic services was well aware that personalized one-to-one  marketing was a core component of many educational institutions’ success rates.  This began the inception of the college’s personalized print campaign done on the iGen3 digital press. The goals of the program were to build relationships with each student and motivate them to enroll and make significant life changes. The campaign consisted of five mailings spaced in 10 day intervals starting within 2-4 days of a student inquiry. The launch consisted of three post cards to communicate short messages about quality, success and financial aid. The delivery of each campaign segment was presented in a bold, personalized and digitally printed 9x12 inch catalog envelope.

The first mailing in the campaign was a personalized brochure accompanied with a personalized letter from the dean along with up to 3 full color fliers on specific requested programs.

The second mailing was a personalized view book featuring photos of students and stories of how much they loved the campus.

The third mailing contained financial aid information. The personalized four page, full color brochure explained how to apply for financial aid and was accompanied by a letter from the financial aid director.

The fourth and fifth mailings worked together to encourage graduate success and quality services. Graduate success was conveyed in a personalized four page full color brochure that contained real success stories from graduates and a personalized letter from a local employer endorsing the college. The fifth and last mailing was also a four page full color personalized brochure featuring stories about Selland instructors and a personalized testimonial from a community leader.

After the launch of this marketing campaign the college was not only able to increase the enrollment rate by 15%, but it was also able to improve their communications relevancy, now utilized in ongoing personalized marketing campaigns. With a total cost of printing all the pieces in the multi-touch campaign as less than $10 per recipient, the investment speaks for itself.

Posted on Apr 07, 2010.


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