Secure Mail

Survey: Print Is Safe, Secure, Trustworthy, and Eco-Friendly

If something is proven safe, secure, and trustworthy, you’d embrace it, right? Now add in that it is also eco-friendly, and you have a product anyone would love. There is such a product, and its print. After years of research on consumer attitudes and preferences, print remains consumers’ preferred channel for safety, security, trustworthiness, and sustainability.

Here are some takeaways from research conducted by Two Sides and Toluna, a global polling firm:

  • 91% of U.S. consumers surveyed agree that, when responsibly produced, used, and recycled, print and paper are sustainable ways to communicate.
  • 86% of those in the 18- to 24-year-old age group see print as eco-friendly.
  • 78% of Americans keep hard copies of essential documents filed at home because they see it as the safest and most secure way of storing information.
  • 56% of Americans trust the news stories they read in printed newspapers.
  • Only 35% of Americans trust the news stories they read on social media.

“Although we regularly hear [that] corporations are going digital or ‘paperless’ as safe, secure, and more [sustainable], this is not a shared opinion by a vast majority of the public, who seem to trust paper for many applications,” says Phil Riebel, president of Two Sides North America.

Furthermore, with the increase in online security breaches and “fake news,” Riebel notes the clear advantages of print on paper. “I believe more and more people will become concerned about what may happen to their personal information held electronically,” he says. “Seventy-six percent of people are now concerned, but that may go up even more.”

The value of print has never been clearer, especially for companies in markets such as insurance, financial services, and medical and pharmaceutical technologies, where safety, security, and trustworthiness remain “make or break” issues for consumers. In these and similar markets, the print channel remains indispensable.

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Do Self-Mailers Have Benefits Over Direct Mail Envelopes? You Bet!

For many businesses, direct mail letters are their “go-to.” They are inexpensive to produce, can include BREs and other inserts, and depending on the design, can seem more personal than self-mailers. Still, the popularity of self-mailers is growing. They, too, are inexpensive and have many benefits.

Self-mailers are created when a single piece of paper is folded to create a self-contained mailing format. Depending on the size of the sheet, self-mailers can be folded into two or more panels. They can be sealed using glue lines, wafer seals, or glue spots along the edge.

Let’s take a look at some of their benefits:

  • Because they require no envelope, self-mailers have no envelope or inserting costs. This makes them a great option for tight budgets.
  • When unfolded, self-mailers provide lots of real estate for graphics and messaging.
  • Even on digital presses, self-mailers can be printed on a wide variety of substrates, including heavier substrates.
  • While we tend to think of self-mailers as simple, folded formats, their substrate flexibility allows them to include pockets and interior panels into which you can insert gift cards, reply cards, or small samples.
  • Because self-mailers can be digitally printed, they can be fully personalized like any other mailer.

Self-mailers are readily identifiable as marketing mail, so they can have lower response rates. For this reason, some businesses use them for mailing to people with whom they already have a relationship—loyal customers who will open them simply because of their relationship with the brand. Others use them for campaigns in which people want promotional mail. Examples include promotions around clearance sales, new store openings with discounts, and free samples. We see them heavily used around college recruiting, as well.

In the end, choosing the correct format depends on your target audience and the goals of the campaign. Testing will be critical in helping you identify when and where each format will work best for you.

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Great Unboxing Experiences: Now More Than Ever

In a world defined by virtual and digital interactions, positive, tactile experiences are a delight to the senses. This is why improving the “unboxing experience” for packaged products is growing in importance among product marketers.

The “unboxing experience” is how buyers feel when they first open the package and engage with its contents. This experience might be dull as dirt (like taking a pair of shoes out of a cardboard box in a shoe store) or, like opening the box for a new Apple iPhone, it can be a multisensory extravaganza.

Whether you are selling online or in a brick-and-mortar environment, a great unboxing experience increases brand satisfaction, boosts brand engagement, and is something that your customers remember and look forward to in their next order. But how, exactly, do you create one?

Try one of these proven ways—or all three!

1. Brand it.

Companies with the best unboxing experiences create custom branded packaging. This is packaging that is unique to you and includes your company name, logo, and any other graphics or text you want to include. It’s not just “any” box. It’s your box, and everything about it reflects your brand. According to a study by Dotcom Distribution, 40% of online shoppers would share an image of their purchase on social media if it came in branded packaging.

2. Go premium.

Use premium materials to create a sense of luxury. One company that does this extremely well is Apple. All Apple products are delivered in minimalist white boxes with shimmering metallic letters. Boxes are made of premium materials with a soft-touch coating and fit the products like a tailored suit. Unboxing is truly a delightful sensory experience that makes people feel they’ve just done something special.

3. Get creative with inserts.

Don’t just send the product. Include inserts that delight, as well. Examples include personalized thank-you cards or fun product-related information. One organic goat-milk soap company, for example, includes a card with each bar of soap with a picture and the names of the goats from which the milk was taken. “Your soap was hand-crafted from the milk of Daisy, Lina, and Ana. They say, ‘Thank you!’”

Think of unboxing as being like the product’s grand entrance at a royal event. The more excitement generated around it, the more special the product—and  by extension, your company—is perceived to be. If you’re going to make an entrance, make it memorable in the best possible way.

ENHANCED PACKAGING AND THE “UNBOXING EXPERIENCE”

Source: US Vertical Vision Study: Vertical Industry Views from a Socially Distanced Perch; Keypoint Intelligence 2020

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Is Brand Awareness Worth the Investment?

We all want to sell more products and services, and for decades, brand awareness has been the subject of research and study. Is this a good investment of your marketing dollars? To what extent does brand awareness truly influence the final purchase decision? As it turns out, quite a lot.

Here are the results from one fascinating study:

  • In a blind study by the University of Newcastle and the University of South Australia, 85.5% of subjects chose the familiar brand in the first trial, even if they preferred a less familiar brand.
  • Even when testing brands during an initial trial, consumers were more likely to purchase the product from a familiar brand name, even if they preferred the taste (or, by extension, the look, smell, or function) of an unfamiliar brand.
  • Consumers were not only likely to choose the more familiar brand but were more likely to make the decision more quickly — 9.8 seconds faster.

What does this mean for you? Get to the consumer early. Stay in front of them and don’t quit! Repetition is critical. One statistic we regularly run across is that the average person remembers three to five brands per category. To get in there, you have to push someone else out and then stay there.

This is where consistent drips of brand messaging can pay off in a big way. Send a direct mailer and follow up with an email. Invest in retargeting with social media ads for visitors to your website. Create constant reminders of who you are and what your brand offers.

Creating brand awareness is not always about getting someone to buy right now. It’s about staying top of mind—and keeping your competitors out in the cold—so that when your target audience is ready to buy, they think of you.

Source: “Brand Awareness Effects on Consumer Decision Making for a Common, Repeat Purchase Product: A Replication” (Journal of Business Research)

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The Value of the Traditional Holiday Card in the Digital Age

In this digital, mobile age of communication, the personal touch is often missing from important client, employee and partner interactions. In a rush to be present on social media sites and participate in the latest and greatest technology enabled trends, companies may make the mistake of forgoing the personal touch of sending a traditional holiday greeting card. Holidays are the perfect time to remember and thank customers, partners, suppliers, and employees for the vital role they serve in the success of your business.

If sending out cards isn’t a yearly tradition for your business, or if it’s fallen by the way-side in recent years, it’s time to rethink that approach. Holiday cards and other types of thank you cards may seem like a small gesture, but when done in a genuine way, this gesture can help forge a lasting bond between your business and the recipient.

It’s important to remember, however, that not all holiday cards achieve their goal. That may be because they don’t have the right design, so they don’t stand out as special. Or, the message on the inside of the card may not communicate what it was intended to communicate. For these reasons, you should take time planning before sending out cards for the holiday season.

We receive a lot of questions about this time of year for best planning of our client’s holiday communications. Following are our answers to the ones we hear most often.

Why send holiday cards?

Here are the five reasons we believe are the most important reason to send holiday greetings:

SHOW THANKFULNESS

Holiday cards can be used to express gratitude. With them, you can say “thanks” in a way that is customized to the relationship you have with the recipient.

GENERATE GOODWILL

Goodwill is valuable to any business. Sending holiday cards is an excellent way to nurture important relationships and generate goodwill in a non-salesy way.

REINFORCE YOUR BRAND

By having your cards reflect your brand image, you are reinforcing your brand in the minds of the recipients.

STAY TOP OF MIND

Sending holiday cards to prospects and dormant clients will help your business stick in the minds of prospects and help dormant clients remember your business.

LEVERAGE THE SEASON TO “SUPERCHARGE” A DIRECT MAIL CAMPAIGN

What do you do when you receive an envelope that is obviously a part of someone’s direct-mail campaign? Odds are that you throw it away. What do you do when you receive an envelope that looks like a personal note? You open it and publicly display the card it contains. It’s still direct mail, but it works harder for you.

Who should I send cards to?

The core list of recipients should include your top customers, supportive suppliers, prospective customers and employees. These are the people your business touches:

CUSTOMERS

One of the best ways to show gratitude to your customers is to send them a holiday card. Remember, to be effective, the card must not contain a sales pitch. Also, consider personalizing your cards with a handwritten message. Handwriting the address is another great personalization technique.

PROSPECTS

If your salespeople use a customer relationship management or CRM platform, then you have lots of prospects. Use that database to send cards to those prospects to reinforce your brand and make them feel special.

DORMANT CUSTOMERS

As we mentioned above, sending cards to dormant customers puts your business back on their minds. When they need your product or service again, they may think of your business because you made a thoughtful gesture.

EMPLOYEES

Your employees are the bedrock of your business. Sending them a card shows how much you appreciate them and the work they do. Although it’s a small thing, it can help boost morale and job performance.

SUPPLIERS

Most companies stop with just sending cards to customers or clients. Fewer companies send cards to prospects, dormant clients, and employees. Fewer still send cards to the rest of the people on this list. Why send cards to vendors? Because it’s a good way to support the ongoing relationship.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICE PROVIDERS

It’s all about relationships. You count on your accountant, attorney, custodians, and other professional service providers to help you keep your business running smoothly. They will appreciate receiving a card that shows them you care about the work they do for you.

STAKEHOLDERS AND INVESTORS

The people who have a vested interest in your business should also receive a holiday card.

GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

For your business to be a good public citizen, you must foster relationships with your local government officials. Sending holiday cards is one way to do that. The gesture may remind them to think of you when a business opportunity is on the horizon.

POLICE DEPARTMENT

Consider sending cards to your local police department to show that you appreciate the work they do to keep your business safe.

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

The leaders of your local chamber of commerce, convention and visitor’s bureau, and other organizations that support your community are all excellent choices for receiving holiday cards. The more organizations you can connect with the better. There may be opportunities that can come your way when you nurture professional relationships.

INFLUENCERS

LinkedIn isn’t the only place to connect with influencers. Whether they are local or not, put together a list of the top influencers in your industry and send them a holiday card.

What type of card should I send?

It is crucial that your card represents your business well. Content and design matter. These two elements can make the difference between reaching your marketing goal or wasting time and effort. When the recipient looks at your card, they are looking at your business.

The short answer is to send a holiday card that proudly reflects your brand and your corporate culture.

To create a card that you are proud to say represents your business, be sure to select a quality card and envelope stock. Choose a weight that is substantial. A thin or flimsy card does not communicate quality. Also, choose a color that fits the season or your brand.

Next, help your card stand out by giving it a unique design. Consider creating a card with a die cut. It’s sure to be memorable. Also, because most people display their cards on desks, tables, or walls, a card with a unique shape will catch more eyes than a standard rectangle card.

To round out the look of your card, don’t run the envelope through your postage meter. Take the time to stamp each envelope by hand with seasonal postage stamps.

Should I personalize my card?

Yes. You should absolutely personalize each card. There are lots of personalization options. Simply choose the one that works for your business.

Start by addressing your envelope to an individual. If you only address your envelope to the business without a person’s name, you defeat your purpose of connecting with an individual. Besides, it’s doubtful that the intended recipient will ever see your card.

You can also personalize the outside or the inside of the card with a message that is meant specifically for the recipient. For the greatest impact, make the personalization handwritten. This may be too much of an effort for larger businesses, but it’s still possible. Some printers can use your database to personalize each card using a digitized handwriting font.

To hyper-personalize your card, send it to the recipient at their home address. And, be sure to include a handwritten note with a kind message. This only works if you have a personal relationship with the sender.

Otherwise, it may be considered to be inappropriate.

THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS THE BUSIEST TIME OF THE YEAR FOR THE POST OFFICE.

To get your cards delivered before the holiday rush (Christmas or Hanukkah), put them in the mail as soon after Thanksgiving as possible. This means planning the production of your card well in advance of the holidays. Recipients are likely to remember the first cards they receive. If you’ve personalized the card as discussed above, your card is sure to be remembered.

ImageMark Puts It All Together

As you can see, to gain the benefits of sending greeting cards for the holiday season, you must give the project some thought. Get it right and you will nurture long-term relationships. Get it wrong and your brand image will suffer. And, there’s another alternative. Stick to the middle of the road and produce a bland holiday card and it will get ignored.

The team at ImageMark is prepared to assist you with making all the decisions surrounding, what to send, how to send and when to send it. To get started, contact us to request a quote or a meeting.

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Five Quick Tips for Planning Your Direct Mail Campaign

  • CHOOSE WISELY AND DATA CLEANSE
    Carefully select your audience based on your known targeted audience and do not forget a valuable step with your data – cleanse your list to avoid extra expense of mailing to inaccurate addresses.
  • TELL A SIMPLE STORY
    Craft a great message by telling a story in your communication piece and make sure to keep it simple to hold your reader’s attention.
  • KNOW YOUR BUDGET
    Formulate your budget to include all elements of the campaign from design through mailing including the biggest line item – postage!
  • STAND OUT
    Design a format that stands out with your targeted audience while optimizing your postage usage within the USPS requirements.
  • CHOOSE THE RIGHT PARTNER
    Select an experienced print and direct mail partner with all the capabilities in-house to execute flawlessly!
imagemark-COVID19

Business Relationships In These Trying Times

If you have worked with us before, you know about our personal approach. ImageMark is all about diving into a project with you and walking through it from start to finish, side by side and ready to offer as much or as little guidance as you prefer. And the reason we’re so good at it is our people. The team at Imagemark is made up of people who genuinely care about creating good products to help our clients accomplish their marketing, communication, and operational goals.

Like you, we’ve been trekking through uncharted territory over the past few months and while it has been a challenge, it’s also been an affirmation of the multitude of talent, resilience, and grit inherent in our team.

You’ve heard about car companies shifting gears to produce ventilators, or major manufacturing companies either ramping up current production of personal protection equipment or starting from scratch to develop it anew. On a more personal level, members of our own team have broken out old sewing machines, acquired colorful fabric and other supplies, and crafted face masks for the staff to wear as we’ve remained open for business. Throughout the course of this pandemic, some of our team has been working from home, but others have remained on site as we’ve continued to offer essential services to the local community and nationwide.

If you haven’t worked with us before, you may be wondering what we do. You can read more about us on our site, but here’s the gist of it. We print marketing, advertising, and communication products that are essential to the successful operation of businesses large and small. We provide full-scale direct mail services, and we offer promotional items branded with your company logo. We work with hospitals, restaurants, retailers, financial institutions, manufacturing companies, theaters, schools, campaigns, and attorneys, just to name a few.

We’re accustomed to printing signs, decals, flyers, stationery, postcards, you name it, for these companies and others when they need to reach existing or potential clients, or to communicate internally with members of their own team. We produce catalogs and booklets, banners or bumper stickers. And quite often, we help develop a whole series of products to help with the rollout of a client’s exciting new product or service offering.

Maybe exciting isn’t the right word for what we want to tell you today, but it depends on how you look at it. After worldwide business closures and mandated stay-at-home orders, no matter how scary it is, people are anxious to get back to some semblance of normal. And that includes going back to work. Going back to shopping malls and mom & pop shops. Going out to concerts or taverns to hear live music. Sitting down at a corner table in your favorite local restaurant or coffee shop, lingering over a bite or a sip, and engaging in banter with the staff or your neighbor. Even as we’ve learned to adapt and adjust beyond our expectations, we are collectively excited about a return to the activities we once took for granted.

It will take time, of course. We will all continue to learn as we go and alter our business practices as necessary to be certain we stay safe and as healthy as possible, and ImageMark is eager to help along the way. And that’s why we’re excited. Just as we’ve helped our clients with their product rollouts, we are excited about the rollout of our own products.

To walk along with you—albeit six feet away from you—as you embark on your reopening or return to regular business, we present to you, ImageMark’s own safe-distance-products.com.

Visit the link for more information and contact our team with any questions you may have.

Call us at 704.865.4912

Email: sales@ImageMarkonline.com

marketing-operations-fulfillment-vendor

Growing Your Marketing Ops Without Increasing Headcount

Growth is a sign of success. When people find out about your product or service, revenues increase, books of business expand, and the work that you take on will become increasingly more demanding. These are all promising signs, but companies often fail to manage the infrastructure within their company to support the growth. What was once a highly functioning marketing department a year ago might today find itself in cramped quarters, struggling to meet the demands that are placed on them.

Hiring new employees in these cases is not always the wisest move – from the hiring process to onboarding and training, not to mention the resources spent on them, companies have increasingly turned to lean marketing strategies. Small and large companies have found that, with the right resources, they can do much more with less people. This is largely done by having superior asset marketing tools.

Is your company struggling with growing pains, or looking for innovative solutions to ease the stress on your marketing department? Below are some helpful tips for growing your marketing operations without adding to your headcount.

Step One: Start by Assessing Your Team’s Capacity to Deliver on Your Marketing Plan

Is your team understaffed, or is it not effectively utilizing all the opportunities available to it? Knowing the difference can be crucial for your success. An understaffed team might not be able to implement all the initiatives that they have planned for the year, simply because they don’t have the manpower to do it. Your team may be understaffed in overall capacity or may simply lack appropriate skills for a specific, planned initiative.

To determine if your marketing organization will have unmet need, identify the skills needed to accomplish both your short and long-term goals and then map your team to the needed skills. Next, tally the number of hours a week each project is expected to take and see how much bandwidth the team has to deliver. It’s very likely you’ll find some gaps, and even if your budget allows for additional headcount, it’s also possible that one or two new hires won’t have all the unique skills required to meet those gaps.

In today’s highly competitive employment market, it could also take many months to bring on new talent and even more time before that talent is ready to execute on key programs. If you sense that activities with the greatest potential to impact revenue may be stalled due to a talent or resource gap, it may be time to move to Step 2.

Step Two: Explore Outsourcing Marketing Functions

Are there tasks within your department that maybe better served with an outside partner? Now that your marketing needs are clearly identified, the gap could be filled by a solid partner who can collaborate with your team to increase the functions of your marketing operations without altering the strategy behind it – devising solutions without compromising the company’s direction. A good outsourced marketing partner may bring efficiencies through the access to fractional resource skills or through access to technology that can help you accelerate your marketing program.

Bringing in an outside source can accomplish two primary objectives when working alongside your company: understanding the challenges that your company is facing and finding the right solutions to solve them. When outsourcing marketing work, there are two common paths: approaching an advertising agency or using an outside vendor and consolidating marketing assets and vendors.

Step 3: Find the Right Outsourcing Partner for Your Organization

An advertising agency will take on the creative and strategic work for your company and function as an independent branch outside of your company. While formally skilled at what they do, they also must rely on other companies for the tactical execution of campaigns. In brief, an agency can help you meet growth goals, but with higher associated costs. Outsourcing all or a part of marketing operations can have a very different result, lowering operational cost, while boosting the bottom line and ensuring that you maintain control of the critical strategic direction of your marketing plan.

Having the time and money to field different vendors for each step of your process is a luxury not all companies have the resources to manage. Placing a systematic approach into your marketing operations eases the headaches of coordinating multiple vendors and frees valuable time that your marketing team can use on higher-value functions that impact revenue.

Outside vendors offer an affordable and effective solution to many of the woes faced by internal marketing departments. However, some of these companies have an international scale or location, meaning that they have a hands-off approach to achieving your goals. Consider finding a local partner to allow you higher control and access to see your work first-hand. Working with a local vendor also simplifies interactions and allows for meeting in person to better share objectives and goals. Many efficiencies can be realized quickly with a trusted, local provider who is readily available to collaborate and respond to specific needs.

Finding your local partner might not be too far with ImageMark located conveniently in the Carolinas. If you are searching for a solid partner to support your marketing team, don’t look too far. ImageMark is ready to support your marketing operations needs with marketing asset management, direct mail and print services, and a full suite of promotional products.

We invite you to learn more about ImageMark.

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More Than Trash and Trinkets: 7 Reasons to Include Promo Items in Marketing Campaigns

Promotional items are a fantastic way to get your brand name out into the world. Whether it be company water bottles, jackets, or sweatshirts, everybody loves freebies. What companies don’t know is that promotional materials like these can be so much more than a giveaway at a trade conference or a company picnic. These common examples represent just a fraction of what could be a larger marketing effort or employee recognition program.

The enterprising company can implement swag into performance or safety incentives, breathing new potential into promo items that less resourceful companies might consider mere trinkets or trash. Below are seven ways that you can implement promotional items to enhance your company’s potential:


Everybody Loves Swag

I love freebies, you love freebies – everybody loves free stuff. The term “swag” came into popularity in the 1990s, and while the definition evolved with popular slang used at the time, it is less known that the word is also an acronym for Stuff We All Get.1 Many companies implement swag by giving new employees company-branded items such as t-shirts for new hires. These can be quite popular, but often don’t incorporate high-level strategy. Swag can serve many purposes to meet a variety of goals within industries such as manufacturing, sales, and retail.


Incentive Gifts

Incentivizing behavior has been proven to be a successful tactic for many types of businesses. In sales, incentive programs have been shown to improve individual performance by 22%.2 Promotional products offer a better return on your investment than cash. Many companies offer monetary incentives as prizes for reaching goals or deadlines, but these sorts of rewards have a short lifespan. Between gift taxes and general expenses like gas, groceries, and the like, cash prizes evaporate quickly.

Consider this alternative: manufacturing companies have safety incentive programs in place to help create awareness in the workplace. Rather than dishing out money for the correct behavior, reward those that demonstrate the best adherence to safety protocol with a jacket or a cap that draws attention to their achievements in the workplace.

Material goods last longer than cash incentives, while also holding a symbolic purpose. It not only demonstrates their achievements in the workplace, but holds them to standards of achievement that they will want to continue to replicate. When new people on the job ask where Bill got the cool hat, they’ll feel compelled to demonstrate adherence to safety policies so they can get one too.


Community Brand Exposure

How many times have you gone to a restaurant to sign a check only to find that pen in your pocket when you get home? The value of a single pen is rather negligible – the critical benefit is that the company name on that pen has now entered the neutral space of your home. You might not look at that pen every day, but when you do, you’re going to think of the restaurant it came from. When you find yourself at that restaurant later that week, you may not have even realized the subconscious ticks that brought you back.

From t-shirts that you can wear on the weekends to stickers on the back of your laptop, community brand exposure can take many different forms to hit every demographic. Having promotional materials with your logo on it means that you are being represented in the world around you – and people notice. When people are familiar with the name of your company and need a service that you provide, you’ll be the first person they call.


Identification

Company branded merchandise is an excellent way to identify your employees inside and outside the workplace. While some merchandise such as casual attire can be an excellent target for branding your logo, think outside of the box. For a manufacturer trying to incentivize safety in the workplace, focus on targeting apparel that is related to that goal. Safety blaze orange and yellow jackets and hard hats with your logo will not only help your team identify each other in the field, but promote safe work practices. Specialized attire for those that most conform to safety practices can be an excellent award and promote leadership standards from within your company.


Long Shelf Life

Earlier we mentioned that switching out monetary rewards with promotional item incentives provides more substantial rewards in the long term. People are going to remember winning a jacket much more than they will remember a $100 bonus stripped away by gift taxes and personal expenses. It has also been shown that the ROI is substantially higher for promotional gifts as opposed to monetary gifts.

What strategies are most effective when trying to incentivize work behavior? Short-term strategies, like giving a reward when ten products have been sold within a month, can help promote good sales behavior, but this type of gamification can lead to employees holding back on reporting to cheat the system. Long-term strategies aimed at continuous improvement create performance drivers that are ongoing, rather than being limited to a shorter period.


Popularity Among Millennials

Millennials may live in an increasingly digital, immaterial world – but promotional items have never been more popular than among this generation. When attending an event, millennials say that 47% of their motivation for going is simply “getting free stuff”.3 With their clear inclination for free goods, you can use this to target swag towards those demographics. Follow their interests – power banks, USB chargers, and water bottles are all things that they will take with them in their increasingly mobile lives. They’re not going to be at home all day – make sure that your promotional items follow them around.

This can also be applied to millennial’s proclivity for stickers. It only takes a cursory glance around a college coffee shop to see laptops plastered with them. Not only are stickers a cheap and productive alternative, but they can easily be slipped into a package as a gift with purchase.


Rounding Out a Promotional Campaign

What’s better than buying a new car that you’ve fallen in love with? A free hat! Promotional goods are a great way to stick the landing with any campaign, and are a great way to increase customer loyalty and spur repeat business. Three out of four millennial buyers who get something unexpected shipped with their purchase have said that they would buy something again from that retailer.4 Providing millennials with freebies not only means repeat customers – you’re making loyal brand advocates, openly representing your company.

Sources Cited:

  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/what-does-swag-mean
  2. https://www.workstride.com/build-effective-incentives-program/
  3. https://splashthat.com/resources/millennialz
  4. https://www.emarketer.com/content/how-to-turn-millennials-into-repeat-shoppers-give-them-free-stuff
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The Dangers of Choosing a Printer on Price Alone

Choosing a printer is one of the most critical decisions you must make regarding your print project. To keep the cost of your project as low as possible, you might be tempted to choose the printer that quotes you the lowest price. Sure, the price is always important. However, when you select a printer on price alone, there is the ever-present danger that you may be making too big of a sacrifice.

There is a rule in the printing industry that you can have quality, you can have a fast turnaround, and you can have a low price. However, you must choose only two of those things. You can’t have all three. If you choose the lowest price, you will be giving up either quality or turnaround.

You’ve undoubtedly seen printers advertise a “special offer” of 500 business cards for $10. How can they do that? The price is low, and the turnaround is fast. However, the quality is limited. What they don’t tell you is that to qualify for the special offer you must choose from limited paper options. Bleed may not be available. And, because your cards are gang printed with other businesses, there is no option to color correct.

So, for that low price, you’re receiving an inferior quality print job. If that’s acceptable to you, then go with the low-price printer. However, the odds are that you’ll be disappointed in the long run.

What, then, is the most important thing to look for when choosing a printer? It’s best to start your search for a printer with the intention of building a relationship.

Build a Relationship with Your Printer

Begin by getting referrals from other businesses who are happy with their printer. Visit the printer’s website to learn as much as you can about them. Then, reach out to the printer either through their website or by phone and see how they respond to you. Pay close attention to how quickly they respond and how attentive they are to what you say. Notice whether they are trying to understand the nature of what you are trying to accomplish, or are they merely interested in getting just enough details to give you a quote.

What you want is a printer with whom you can build a relationship. You want the printer to be interested in your business and your project. Ideally, they should recognize that they have a vested interest in the outcome, so they take steps to understand and improve the print project that you are planning.

If practical, tour the printer’s facilities. This will give you the opportunity to see if they run a clean and well-organized shop. A tour will also allow you to meet the people at the printer who will be servicing your account. These are the people with whom you will be building a long-term relationship.

When you have a solid relationship with your printer, you’ll find that your print projects will be more successful. Keep in mind that things will occasionally go wrong on either your end or theirs. For instance, if someone on your end has made a mistake with a file, having a good relationship with your printer might make all the difference in whether that project gets printed on time. Perhaps the printer will be willing to step up and correct the mistake even though it is an inconvenience to them. Likewise, if they make a mistake, their willingness to correct the mistake in a way that is satisfactory to you will be based on the relationship you have with them.

Additionally, you want to know as much as you can about the printer. Start by assessing the printer’s expertise.

Assess the Printer’s Expertise

Find out everything you can about the printer. The objective here is for you to feel comfortable working with them. Read online reviews to see what their customers think of them. Don’t forget to ask them about turnaround time. Time is always of the essence, and it does you no good to receive print projects late, regardless of how well they are printed.

Also, ask how long they have been in business. You want to work with an established printer with a long track record. They should also be financially stable. Remember that all printers must buy ink and paper, buy new equipment, maintain existing equipment, and pay their employees. If the printer can’t handle all of these things, then they are in no position to handle your print projects.

When Choosing a Printer, Understand the Capabilities

Remember that it is crucial that your printer’s capabilities match your needs. Because it’s a good idea to only work with one print vendor, you want them to be able to take care of all your printing from pre-press to delivery. So, whether it’s signs, labels, banners, packaging, business cards, brochures, holiday greeting cards, or direct mail, make sure that the printer can handle it all.

Evaluate the Printer’s Quality

One of your top concerns should be that the printer you select must produce top-quality work. Since the quality of the print job ultimately reflects on your business, always, always look at samples of what the printer has printed. Don’t just pick up a random sample of something they’ve printed. Look at a representative sample. If you need signage printed, look at sample signs. If you need packages printed, look at samples of printed packages.

ImageMark Delivers on Price, Quality, and Turnaround

Here at ImageMark, we seek to apply our expertise, capabilities, and experience to deliver top-quality printing on time and at a reasonable price. That’s because we believe that you should sacrifice nothing when you choose us as your printer.

We not only have the ability to print jobs on one of our 18 printing devices, but we can also design projects, finish them, and distribute them via USPS or other methods. Moreover, because we care about your business, we work hard to make sure that your project gets completed in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Don’t choose your next printer on price alone. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive services. We’d love to discuss your next project with you.