Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

New Media Means… New Ways to Reach Customers

June 3, 2010

The term old media and its companion legacy media refer to traditional ways of communicating with customers. Printers are generally considered to be part of old media, along with other paper-based industries like newspapers, magazines, and books, as well as radio, television, and movies. In contrast, new media is digital and includes the Internet, websites, and most computer-based forms of communication.

New media is exciting because it brings new tools to the process of communicating with customers – tools like full color printing, highly personalized sales messages, and interactive outreach – as well as empowering prospects and customers to quickly and easily find reliable information about products, services, and vendors.

In this issue of Printips, we present an overview of ways we can help you take advantage of new media to communicate with your customers and prospects. We recommend that you add these to your sales and marketing activities rather than replacing what you are already doing. This is because we firmly believe that new media is not replacing old, but adding to available communication possibilities.

The Value of Print

June 1, 2010

Much is being made today of the decline of printing. Newspaper and magazine subscribers are dwindling; e-books are gaining in popularity; online advertising is replacing print; and printed products are being assailed as environmentally unsound. So does printing have a future? Does it have a present?

We say unequivocally: yes.

Businesses and organizations know that printing is not about the ink on the paper; it is about the target audience’s reaction to it. As author, journalist, and marketing consultant Cary Sherburne says, “It is not about print; it is about the most effective way to achieve the business objective associated with any given customer communication or campaign.” Print is not dead or dying, though it is changing.

In this issue of Printips we’ll share with you why our outlook on print is so positive.

Trade Shows, Meetings, Seminars… YES, We Do That!

May 30, 2010

Reaching prospects is the #1 task for sales and marketing. Direct mail using post cards and brochures takes your message to prospects in their offices. But when there is an opportunity to reach a group of prospects at a meeting, seminar, conference, or trade show, you may need additional materials besides business cards and brochures.

Participating in an event for a group of prospects has three phases: preparing for the event, attending the event, and following up. In each phase there is a need for materials to be printed, distributed, and given away. These all need to be graphically coordinated to reflect your company or organization’s image or brand – especially since some of the staff at the event may not be seasoned marketing or sales professionals.

Begin by deciding on a marketing theme for the event. Tie it to your company’s overall marketing focus but tailor the theme to reflect the interests of the target audience who will be attending the group event. Some typical themes are how your product or service promotes efficiency and saves money; how it solves problems encountered by the target audience; what competitive advantage it imparts; or what enhancements to customer service it brings.

Planning Your Marketing… and Planning What You Print

May 29, 2010

The end of an old month/season/year and the beginning of a new one often brings out the introspective side of businesses and organizations. It is a good time to review the results of the past and plan for the future. And this kind of strategic planning naturally leads to developing the next marketing plan. Marketing refers to all the processes and activities associated with promoting the sale of products or services, with focus on acquiring new customers and satisfying existing ones.

While marketing plans for medium and large businesses can be very formal and based on extensive research and analysis, most small businesses and organizations use a simpler approach that often is defined by the amount of resources – money and people – available to carry it out.

Expand Your Marketing… Reach Out with a Newsletter

May 26, 2010

Every company or organization has an arsenal of marketing tools that share common characteristics: to introduce the company or organization to prospective customers; to describe the products and services offered and how they benefit the prospect; to show how your company or organization differs from the competition; and to create a favorable impression. Brochures, direct mail, a web site, press releases, and a newsletter are all examples of common marketing tools. Of these, a newsletter has the added benefit of demonstrating your expertise and establishing you as an authority.

Readers expect marketing newsletters to be informative, easy to read, and to contain useful tips. This is the basis for establishing credibility in the mind of the reader and inspires trust and understanding that is the basis of a business relationship. When distributed at trade shows, networking groups, meetings, and seminars, newsletters lend their credibility to brochures and other marketing materials.

Newsletters are also a great way to establish regular contact with customers. The same helpful information and useful tips that prospects appreciate are also valued by customers. In addition, the newsletter reminds customers about your company or organization and provides a way to announce coming events, activities, or new products and services.

Considering all the benefits of publishing a newsletter, it is surprising that so few businesses do so. This leads to another benefit: publishing a newsletter separates you from your competition.

Marketing on a Budget: How to Promote for Pennies

May 13, 2010

Whether you are a large or small business; whether your organization is for-profit or non-profit; regardless of what product or service you offer in the marketplace, some part of your regular activities has to include promoting. To be successful, your business or organization must interact with those you intend to serve – your clients, customers, patrons, members, subscribers, donors, or users – and must be constantly seeking to attract the attention of those who can benefit from what you offer.

Businesses are comfortable talking about this process as a selling system – a way of regularly interacting and connecting with customers and prospects. And though organizations, particularly non-profits, may have difficulty seeing their outreach activities as a selling system, it actually fits a broad definition.

People buy from people. People join or give because someone asked. That means that ultimately success comes from people connecting to people. So how can a business or organization set about making a connection, particularly with a stranger? The answer is simple — by regularly engaging in unobtrusive outreach activities.

Growing in Tough Times… Marketing Activities That Work

May 12, 2010

To stay viable, all businesses and organizations must grow, and that means continually attracting and retaining new customers. This is especially important in difficult economic times when core customers may be working with smaller budgets or implementing cutbacks. Rather than being overcome by a downturn in customer buying patterns, in lean times experienced marketers put forth more effort to stay in touch with existing customers and prospect for new ones.

For most small and medium-sized businesses and organizations, marketing means engaging in activities that provide significant value for customers, promote customer satisfaction, and result in customer retention. Seen this way, marketing is much more of an operational than strategic function and is centered on the customer and his needs rather than the company and its products or services.

Ten Ways Post Cards Can Work For You

May 9, 2010

Consider the common post card. Though small in size, post cards deliver a big message, and do so economically. Compared to a brochure or a flyer, a post card takes less time and less effort to produce and so is more affordable. This makes post cards an important marketing tool for any organization or business.

Whether your objective is business promotion, product or service advertising, brand identity, donation solicitation, invitation, or service or event reminder, a post card gets the job done efficiently and effectively.

Why do post cards consistently outperform other forms of advertising? The reason is simple – the message is in plain view and therefore difficult to ignore. Even if the reader doesn’t intend to get involved with the post card, a strong headline or graphic will catch the eye unbidden.

Although most post cards are used for direct mail marketing, they also have other uses. A post card can be used as a notice on a bulletin board, as a handout at a trade show or meeting, and for inserting into publications or other distributed material.

Here are ten other ways to use post cards:

Getting the Word Out… Say It with a Brochure

May 6, 2010

For many businesses and organizations, the company brochure is a fundamental piece of printed marketing literature. Often the next item to be produced after business stationery (business cards, letterheads and envelopes), a brochure puts a brief, targeted message directly in the hands of prospective customers in a format that is portable, easy to store, and easy to pass on to others. A brochure is also integral to the buying process. It functions as a leave-behind following a sales call or meeting with potential customers.

It is a way to respond to inquiries about your products or services or to introduce your company, organization, products, or services when cold calling. As part of a direct mail marketing campaign, a brochure can be included with a sales letter or sent on its own as a self-mailer. And finally, a brochure is a point-of-purchase display to interest customers in additional products or services or provide information.

Brochures have an additional advantage: they can be tailored to meet any printing budget. Whether a simple two-color trifold or an elaborate full color die cut folder, a brochure effectively serves your company’s marketing function.

Newsletters… A Practicum for Success

May 5, 2010

We believe strongly that for most small businesses and community organizations, the best way to sell products and services or to solicit memberships and donations is to publish a newsletter regularly – monthly if budget allows, and quarterly if not. A newsletter reminds customers and members why they selected your business or organization to be affiliated with and introduces new products and services. For prospects, a newsletter creates name recognition and provides an alternative to the present service provider or product supplier.

Another benefit of a newsletter is that it can be tailored to any budget – literally. Naturally, we prefer a newsletter budget that is large enough to allow us to keep you on schedule by taking over all publication tasks, from design and layout to print and mail. But if your budget is modest, don’t deny your company or organization the benefits of regularly publishing a newsletter.

Contact us with this information: the quantity of newsletters you’d like to distribute, how often you’d like to publish, and the amount that has been budgeted. We’ll back into specifications to keep the newsletter within that amount.