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Self Promo--Top 10 Ways To Get Noticed

November 1999

One by one, the staff of Printing Impressions paraded past tables of submissions for the magazine's 13th annual Self-Promotion Contest. As the members perused over the quality promotional pieces, the subject of judging criteria was brought up. What exactly makes one submission stand out from another?

It's a good question, one marketing departments and creative gurus have long pondered when developing ideas to tout the virtues of their respective companies. Making matters more difficult, the promotions are being created for marketing in the commercial printing industry, the equivalent of chefs being asked to bring a covered dish to a pot luck dinner. Talk about being under the gun to produce.

The following "Top 10" were judged on the quality of printing and were not judged on the quality of printing. Yes, printing reproduction is important, for how would a poorly produced package reflect on a printing company's abilities? By the same token, there are a bevy of quality printers across the land—since you're reading this, we'll assume you're not cranking out copies by hand and blowing on the ink to dry.

The criteria set forth here is relatively simple. An award-winning, self-marketing piece has a creative hook, an eye catcher that brings a smile to the face and an "ooh, nice," to the lips. They're not run-of-the-mill capabilities brochures or stock calendars with the company logo affixed. No, these items find their way to the desks of existing clients or prospects. And they stay there, in full view, with your company name and/or logo staring them in the face each morning, while company X's brochure gets stuffed in a filing cabinet with the scores of other would-be prospects.

You may not agree with all of our selections—some quality entries barely missed the cut—but there's no denying that these self-marketing pieces have a flair for the unusual.

Here are the winners, in no particular order:

Parade of Promos Are Bit of a Stretch
Berman Printing, Cincinnati
Debbie Johnson is marketing manager for Berman Printing, and it is safe to say she's had her hands full this year with an exhausting array of promotions, designed to coincide with the company's $3 million acquisition of an Agfa Galileo platesetting system and a new press.

The parade of promos began in January, with a business letter detailing the equipment investments. In the spring, Berman followed with the distribution of—think back to your childhood—a Slinky, with the tagline, "We're stretching to meet your needs." Included with the toy was a fold-out pamphlet that announced the company's newest additions, along with some fun facts and history of the Slinky.



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