Category Archive: In The Press

How to Keep Remote Employees Connected with your Brand

In today’s remote work landscape, it is more important than ever to keep your brand top of mind for your employees. One way to do this is by providing custom promotional products that they can use and interact with daily.

Kitting, also known as assembly, involves gathering various items together to create a custom package. For example, you could create a kit that includes a custom-branded t-shirt, a tote bag, and a laptop sticker. This allows you to create a cohesive, branded look for your products and ensures that your employees have everything they need to represent your brand.

Fulfillment services take care of the logistics of getting your custom promotional products to your remote employees. This includes warehousing, inventory management, packaging, and shipping. This allows you to focus on creating and branding your products, while ImageMark takes care of the rest.

One example of how you can use these services to promote your brand among remote employees is by creating custom swag bags for new hires. These bags could include a branded t-shirt, a notebook, a pen, and a mug, all packaged together in a custom-branded tote bag. This not only promotes your brand but also makes your new hires feel welcomed and valued as part of the team.

Another example is creating a custom branded work-from-home “kit” that includes branded items like a mousepad, a notebook, and a pen to help remote employees feel connected to the brand even when they are working remotely.

With ImageMark’s kitting and fulfillment services, you can easily create custom promotional products for your remote employees that will keep your brand top of mind. These services take the hassle out of logistics and allow you to focus on creating a cohesive, branded experience for your remote workforce.

In conclusion, custom promotional products are a great way to keep your brand top of mind for your remote employees. ImageMark Business Services, Inc. offers custom branded products, kitting and fulfillment services to help you create and distribute these products to your remote workforce with ease. Whether you’re looking to create a custom swag bag for new hires or a branded work-from-home kit, ImageMark can help make it happen. Don’t let the challenges of remote work take away from the visibility of your brand, take action now and contact ImageMark today to discuss how their kitting and fulfillment services can help promote your brand among your remote employees.

By Wes Pollock

Using Packaging as a Marketing Tool

When a shopper walks into the store, even if they aren’t looking for something in your product category, the proper packaging can entice them to make a purchase they hadn’t planned. That’s why packaging should be considered part of your marketing toolbox. Here are five ways to use product packaging to stand out and create competitive differentiation.

1. Great design matters.

The front of your container is your face to the market. Whether a label or a folding carton, bright colors, glossy coatings, and specialty techniques like embossing and foil can stop shoppers in their tracks, and creative design techniques, such as vintage effects, can grab attention, too. Get creative!

2. Emphasize sustainability.

With more and more consumers looking to buy sustainable products, the packaging is a great way to show that your brand is committed to the environment. Use recycled materials, biodegradable packaging, and reusable packaging, then promote your efforts on the package where shoppers can see it easily.

3. Target specific audiences.

Did you know that you can break your packaging into target segments just as you do with other marketing materials? You might create complementary packaging for different audiences—one for men and one for women. Or, if you sell into areas with a high percentage of Spanish-speaking consumers, you might print a portion of your packaging with messaging in Spanish and English.

4. Create personalized options.

With today’s digital production, packaging can be printed in runs as short as one. Allow customers to purchase your hand-ground coffee in bags with their names on them (for example, “Joan’s Favorite Breakfast Mix”) or with the names of friends and family to use as gifts. Encourage businesses to brand their products for corporate events.

5. Add something extra.

Include something fun and surprising inside the package. This might be a coupon for their next purchase, a free sample of a related product, or a funny refrigerator magnet. Customers appreciate and remember this extra effort.

Packaging is one of your most essential marketing tools, so use it to your advantage. With a bit of creativity, you can surprise and delight your customers, build brand loyalty, and keep your customers coming back.


During Times of Uncertainty, Market Like a Leader

In today’s times of uncertainty, it can be challenging to know how to strike the right tone. While consumer spending remains strong, there is still much uncertainty about the future. Some Americans are doing quite well. Others are still struggling. For marketers, this means crafting messaging that is both optimistic and sensitive. It can be a tricky balance. Here are five tips for getting it right.

1. Exude confidence.

During difficult times, people flock to leaders who exude confidence. Brands can inspire, motivate, and make people feel that everything will be okay. Reach out using the theme, “We’re here to help.”

2. Invest in social and environmental justice.

Consumers like to align with brands that “do good.” Promote your support for socially or environmentally conscious organizations and let people know about it. For example, a SheerID study found that, during the pandemic, 68% of respondents wanted brands to donate to programs that provided direct support for medical workers.

3. Offer a helping hand.

While the U.S. economy continues to grow, this is still a time of struggle for many. Offer deferred payments, ideas for lowering expenses, and so on. Even if your customers don’t need the help themselves, this kind of care for others builds brand equity that pays off in the long run.

4. Show off your expertise.

This is a great time to share meaningful expertise with your customers. Think “Top 5 Ways to Save on Lawn Care” or “3 Plumbing Fixes You Can Do Yourself.”

5. Make your customers’ lives easier.

When the world is uncertain, consumers want to feel that they at least have control over their own homes and families. Position your products in terms of how they can help your customers make lives safer and easier, even in small ways. “Let us help you save 10% on your home electric bill,” or, “We’re offering FREE delivery of pool chemicals all summer long so you can relax at home!”

Brands can play a positive role in helping their customers through uncertain times. Striking the right tone tells your customers that you are paying attention… and that you care.

ImageMark Business Services Announces Ownership Transition, Expands Offerings

Gastonia, NC – December 6, 2022– ImageMark Business Services announced today a three-year ownership transition which will be completed in 2025. As a part of this agreement, an ownership stake in the company has been acquired by Wes Pollock and Josh Payne. ImageMark is currently owned by Walter Payne. Walter will remain with the company as President through 2025, as he works through the succession plan with Wes and his son Josh to transition ownership.

ImageMark offers a variety of printing, packaging and fulfilment offerings to its customer base, which includes medical device companies, retailers, national restaurant franchises, utility companies and professional sports teams around the country. As a part of this acquisition, ImageMark will pursue additional kitting, fulfillment and contract packaging opportunities in addition to the company’s core offerings, which include Web to Print, Wide Format Printing, Direct Mail, Kitting and Fulfillment. ImageMark offers unique capabilities to help large multi-location companies control their print and packaging spend and standardize quality across their business, with their ResourceOne® platform.

Wes Pollock, Chief Revenue Officer of ImageMark, brings a wealth of packaging, logistics and sales expertise to the company. Most recently Wes was the Vice President of Sales & Strategic Partnerships at Eleos Technologies, a Knight-Swift (KNX) company, where he built a network of integration partners for the leading software platforms and providers in logistics and established a channel sales program to build a scalable sales model for the business. Previous roles include working as Packaging Consultant for Veritiv (VRTV), the leading packaging distributor in the US, where he sold packaging equipment and supplies to multi-location manufacturers.

Josh Payne, Chief Operating Officer of ImageMark, was most recently Senior Account Executive with Eleos Technologies, where he led the growth of the Enterprise Accounts. Josh has a long history with the medical distribution industry, including roles with McKesson (MCK), a leading national medical distribution company. His medical sourcing and distribution expertise will be critical as ImageMark looks to grow and expand its medical kitting and packaging business.

ImageMark was originally founded in 1924 as Brumley Printing, and has operated as ImageMark since 1996. With nearly 100 years of experience in the industry, and more than 60 employees at the Gastonia, North Carolina facility, ImageMark is well positioned for continued growth and innovation to support its customer base.

About ImageMark

ImageMark supports marketing efforts through our production implementation services. We offer a blended approach of both digital and offset printing supported by full bindery, fulfillment, promotional products, complex assembly/kitting, wide-format printing and direct mail.

Our premier solution is our robust online portal, ResourceONE® providing large, multi-location corporations across the US with an efficient method to produce and manage their materials on-demand while maintaining brand controls with cost reduction results.

Well-positioned in the Healthcare, Utilities, Education, Hospitality, and Manufacturing industries, ImageMark approaches each potential client uniquely to understand their needs and challenges. With this discovery process, solutions are developed to best serve the challenges that may exist.

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Cindy McKee

Want Better Profits? Open an Online Storefront

If you aren’t already using an e-commerce portal to archive, order, and manage your print materials, you are leaving money on the table. How? Let’s look at five costs associated with manual print ordering and management and how you save money using an online storefront instead.

1. Administrative time. How long does it take one of your employees to place orders for 1,000 copies of your product brochures, 500 business cards for six employees, and 5,000 full-color direct mail pieces? It’s not just the time it takes to place each order. It’s what these employees are not getting done while they do.

2. Outdated inventory. How much inventory do you waste yearly because you order in large quantities to keep the cost down, then throw out because the materials go out of date? Through an online storefront, you order what you need, as you need it, in smaller quantities. If you are warehousing these materials, you will also save money on warehousing.

3. Errors. The branding elements are locked in when you approve and centralize your materials in an online storefront. No matter who places the order, at what time of day or night, your brand colors won’t get messed up. You won’t use the wrong image, last month’s offer, or an outdated logo. You save money on remakes, brand erosion, and embarrassment.

4. Design. Repeat jobs can be transferred to templates while still allowing you to customize, update, and segment them without sacrificing creativity. You can handle these jobs in-house without compromising your brand by using templates.

5. Faster turnaround. As the saying goes, “Time is money.” By starting with a brand-approved template, you can turn around projects in hours rather than weeks, even when you need to make changes. This allows you to respond more quickly to market changes (such as moves by competitors) and make your marketing more agile.

These are some of the top benefits of digital storefronts, but they are by no means the only ones. How much money could you save by setting up your own?

Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)

Think you can’t afford direct mail because you’re a local business with a tight budget? Think again. With USPS Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM), you can send targeted direct mail for a postal cost of $.20
or less per piece. Even target addresses by age, household income,
or household size.

Use EDDM for just the right audience:

  • Grand openings
  • Local sales and promotions
  • New locations
  • Discounts and coupons
  • Local events and more

Contact us to find out how!

Personalization Spells “Respect”

You come home from work and discover that you received a direct mail piece. Nice! We all love mail. But then you talk to your neighbor, and they got the same piece in their mailbox. Then you talk to another neighbor, and they got one, too. So did the neighbor across the street and the neighbor the next road over. So much for feeling special.

Personalization matters. It makes people feel valued, especially when it arrives in print. Digital personalization is all around us, from Amazon recommendations to shopping cart abandonment reminders, but personalization in print marketing is less common. It stands out.
While personalization in print stands out for relevance, it increasingly stands out for another reason: respect. What do we mean by that?

Personalizing your print communications shows respect for the recipient’s time. Nobody has time for irrelevant mail anymore. Buyers know that personalization is possible—they even expect it. They look for it, and they recognize it when they see it. By personalizing the piece, the recipient knows that you’ve taken the time to create something just for them. They know that when they open it, they are less likely to find something irrelevant that is a waste of their time.

It’s no wonder that, in a classic InfoTrends study on the value of print personalization, when consumers were asked how providers can improve the value of their direct mail communications, two of the top three responses were “make them relevant to me” (34%) and “personalize the content for me” (28%). Do you know the top reason for marketers to personalize their transactional mail, in particular? “Make it easier to understand,” with 43% giving this answer. This, again, shows respect for the recipient’s time.
It’s no wonder that when asked how personalization affected the amount of time consumers spent with marketing mail, nearly half (49%) agreed that they spend “much more time” reading direct mail that is “personalized and relevant” to them than they do with generic direct mail.

The data continue to tell the story. You’re missing a massive opportunity if you’re not personalizing your print or digital communications. Need to get started? Let’s do it!

Not All Targeted Marketing Looks the Same

Targeting is the foundation of any highly effective marketing campaign, but there are different ways to slice and dice your list based on your marketing goals. Here are four different ways to target your audience. Which approach might work best for your next marketing campaign?

1. Demographics. 

Demographics such as age, gender, ethnicity, and household income are simple but effective to focus your messaging. For example, if you are selling jewelry, you might show different collections to different recipients based on household income. If you sell automobiles, you’ll select other vehicles for those just out of college versus those married with young children.

2. Lifestyle.

Lifestyle data pools target audiences based on shared interests, such as fitness and wellness, green living, or pet ownership. Two people who look very different demographically may both love dogs or snowboarding. There are many ways to get at lifestyle data, including magazine subscriptions and past purchases. 

3. Life stages data.

Whether young or old, rich or poor, we face common life stages. For example, new parents deal with diapers, and recent college graduates need to furnish apartments. Retirees may be looking to downsize, travel, or invest in a lasting legacy. Targeting based on life stage is different from targeting based on age or generation in that two shoppers might be the same age but at very different stages in life. For example, one might still be single and living at home, while another might be married and with young children. Even though they are the same age, their needs and priorities will differ.  

4. Past purchases.

We can infer a lot about someone based on what they buy. If they just purchased a new pool, they’ll likely be in the market for pool accessories, too. If they just purchased home improvement supplies, there’s a good chance they’ll be in the market for new appliances.

Want to learn more about any of these data types and how to develop campaigns around them? Let us jump in and help.

5 Ways to Maximize Your Print Investment

Have a limited print budget and want to make the most of it? Even if your dollars are limited, your impact can be significant. Start with focusing your efforts on the customers most likely to give you the best return. Let’s look at four strategies to help you make the most of your investment.

1. Focus on existing customers.

Existing customers already know the value you have to offer. They may just need a simple reminder, such as a postcard or letter, to give them a reason to re-engage. If you’re looking to stretch your marketing dollars, start with those already buying from you.

2. Identify your most recent customers.

Of your existing customers, you are most likely to sell to those who have purchased from you most recently. Follow up their purchase with a relevant cross-sell or upsell.

3. Identify your top customers.

Do you know who your “best” customers are? They may buy from you most frequently or less frequently but spend more when they do. Define what your best customer looks like for your business, then create special offers.

4. Create a copy-cat list.

Once you know your best customers, target prospects with a similar profile, either in your current area or in a new market. If you don’t know who your top customers are, even a tiny investment in customer profiling can reap significant returns.

5. Be relevant.

You can only satisfy buyer motivations if you understand what your prospects love and hate—their hearts’ desires and what keeps them awake at night. Knowing your customers and engaging in sincere dialogue about what they want and why they want it will pay off in repeat sales and quality referrals.

Print marketing is evolving. Success is no longer based on trying to get a “same to all” message in front of as many people as possible. It’s about marketing smart and marketing relevant and using the tangible, confidence-building medium of print to its maximum advantage.

Need Profits Quick? Target This Group of Buyers

Let’s get real. Marketing costs money. When budgets are tight, where is the best place to spend your direct mail or email marketing dollars? Your existing customers. While you need to grow your business and backfill customers who drop off for one reason or another, your existing customers will always net you the best return. Here are five reasons why.

1. They spend more.

A retailer may win a new customer based on their need to purchase a new bathing suit, for example. But if you retain that customer, they will continue to buy everything from shirts, shorts, and blouses to accessories. RJMetrics found that, on average, existing customers spend 67% more than new ones.

2. They are more profitable.

You’ve probably read that it costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Now let’s put that into perspective. Let’s say it took three touches to win a new customer using a mix of channels. That customer spends $50 with you. If each touch cost you $5, on average, that $50 sale netted you $35. If you market to an existing customer, it might take only one touch to make the same $50 sale. Now, instead of netting $35, you net $45.

3. They are easier to sell to.

Your existing customers know and trust you. They remain engaged with you because they like what you have to offer. Because they are already engaged, when you make a sales pitch, you have a 65% chance of making a sale compared to only 13% for a prospect. If you need to hit a certain sales goal fast, focusing on your existing customers will be your best bet.

4. They win you new customers.

Did you know that when you treat your existing customers right, they refer 50% more people to your business than new customers do? That’s right! They do the marketing for you. What’s not to like about that?

5. They are the core of your profits.

Have you heard of the 80-20 rule? It applies to customers, too. Eighty percent of your profits come from 20% of your customers.  You want to keep them! Bain found that for every 5% increase you have in customer retention, you increase your profitability by 75%.

Every business needs a profit boost. If it’s been a while since you created a direct mail or email campaign specific to your most valuable asset—your existing customers—maybe now is a great time to do so.