Self-Promotion Contest -- First Impressions Really Do Matter
Caveat printer! Do you know what your competitor, er, colleague down the street is doing to attract new customers and possibly take away some of your market share?
Chances are, it's not a calendar adorned with scantily-clad females. That may fly with the good people at Snap-On Tools, but in a business where image—the printed one, that is—is indeed everything, it behooves printers large and small to develop promotional pieces that not only accurately and succinctly inform people of your products and services, but also incorporate a nice sampling of those capabilities. Make print buyers remember your name...make them want to keep your little gizmo on their desks. Be innovative and creative, which will keep you, at worst, in step with the printer down the street.
Need some inspiration? Check out the winners of the 16th annual Printing Impressions Printer's Self-Promotion Contest. Then maybe you'll be able to drum up a promotion that will ensure your company its fair share of the market pie.
Here are our six winners, in no particular order:
Lights! Popcorn! Action!
EU SERVICES, which specializes in direct mail communications, wanted to create a promotional piece that would introduce prospective clients to its capabilities. The result was a 131⁄2 minute video that could be used as a tool by sales representatives, as an overview for EU plant tours and as an internal mechanism for new employee orientation and training.
EU procured a video producer with editing experience and a background in both printing and mailing. The producer then met with EU's marketing and top management teams to discuss the direction of the presentation. Their conclusion was to develop a video that was interesting, engaging and fast moving, all the while giving viewers a sense of EU's ability to coordinate multi-faceted direct mail packages—"all under one roof."
Speaking of packages, the movie reel tin containing a package of popcorn and an introductory card was enticement enough for our judges to want to watch the video.
"To date, we have distributed 158 video introduction kit packages or single videos," notes Sylvia Konkel, vice president of marketing. "Our sales force reports that after sending the video package to a prospective customer, they are more than 50 percent likely to get an appointment with the contact on the next phone call because the contact is already warm to the offer.
"In the past year, we have converted 15 percent of the new customers who received the video package and/or viewed the video as part of their introduction to EU Services. We also have had existing customers use this video as a training tool for their new print and mail buyers. We believe the video will continue to enhance our marketing efforts and add value by helping to decrease the lead-to-conversion cycle for our sales force."
Warming to the Task
The Gray Printing Co.
WITH VOICE mail placing a gate keeper at everyone's doorstep, Scott Gray, vice president of sales and marketing, instead sought a way to make potential clients pick up the phone and call Gray Printing. Knowing that Gray Printing, a 114-year-old, family-owned business, needed to wow prospects to get them to call, the printer devised the coolGray/warmGray promotion.
The hook begins with a prospect receiving a can opener with the message, "Hang on to this opener. . . You'll really flip your lid."
A week later, the prospect receives a paint can-styled cylinder through the mail, personalized with the prospect's logo from a Website or the prospect's business card. A message inside the can reads, "We're with it, we're cool and we want to be in with your hip crowd. We'd like to talk to you about our direct-to-plate..." Along with the note and a request for the prospect to call and set up an appointment is a pair of coolGray sunglasses.
Gray Printing feels out the client during the first appointment and determines whether there's a fit. After a second meeting, the prospect is sent a warmGray can, this one containing a V-neck Gray Printing logo sweater. An accompanying message reads, "Thanks for not giving us the cold shoulder. We want to roll up our sleeves and get down to business. . ."
Developed by Hart Associates, the promotion carried a price tag of $13,000 for 100 sets of cans, sun glasses and sweaters, or $130 per customer. According to Scott Gray, the company has amassed $235,000 worth of new business related to the self-advertising campaign. He estimates that out of 10 coolGray cans sent out, eight result in initial appointments, five of which ask for proposals, and three of which result in three new deals.
"On average, a client will buy about $50,000 worth of printing from us per year, though new customers may spend less than that the first year," Gray explains. "I encourage my sales reps to identify one prospect per week and send out at least one can per week."
ThINKing Out Loud
Monterey Park, CA
"INK AND paper," the introduction to Continental Colorcraft's art book reads. "Some of the most powerful words and images known to man are formed when these two elements come together." That formation creates a work of art, not just words and images on paper, it adds.
This 24-page booklet marries simplistic imagery with the compelling, colorful and crafty. The header for each picture incorporates the word "ink", including blink, wrinkle and kinky (the infamous photo of a dog and cat caught in a warm embrace). At the end of the book, smaller swatch versions of the images are accompanied by specification information.
"This brochure was developed as a tool to assist our clients' creativity," states Andy Scheidegger, president of Continental Colorcraft. "It is also intended to showcase our skills with a variety of printing effects masterfully achieved by our experienced digital imaging and lithographic craftspeople."
Among the printing and finishing capabilities the art encompasses are blind embossing with a spot UV coating, four-color process plus a second touch of PMS ink, four-color process plus spot gloss and spot dull varnishes, and a tritone image (black plus two grays).
The piece was printed on a six-color, 40˝ press, with up to three passes on some forms.
Mossberg & Co.
South Bend, IN
WHEN IT comes to using coatings, Mossberg & Co. wanted to show potential customers the capabilities, but also the limitations. "We felt it was important to show some of the shortcomings and tradeoffs of certain coatings, so there are no surprises on-press, which cost time and money," says Amy Bladow, who chairs Mossberg's marketing committee.
The result was "Breakfast at Stephanie's: An Unvarnished Romance," a coating primer that serves as a reference tool for clients. Printed on a six-color Heidelberg Speedmaster CD press with a slipcover, its goal is to assist in the design process—to determine where and when to use coatings.
The book is broken down into four-page segments. The first four pages are on a glossy stock printed with CoCure inks. The next four are on glossy stock using conventional inks, followed by four pages on a dull stock with CoCure inks and four pages on a dull stock with conventional inks. Four images are repeated in each section to allow users to compare the paper, ink and coating variances while viewing the same image. A front-cover foldout provides a pie chart template to identify the various coatings. Each facing page is coated the same as the foldout to allow for comparison.
Mossberg & Co. highlighted spot treatments on different papers with different inks. "We wanted to show the limitations of some varnishes and coatings; for instance, creating vignettes with spot CoCure UV," adds Bladow. "The duotones in the corners show several of the treatments laid over a duotone image versus four-color process."
The company also produced a corporate brochure that serves as a sales tool to showcase capabilities to its current and potential customers. Each division of Mossberg features a detailed description, and the piece itself demonstrates the on-site finishing capabilities through the use of diecutting and Wire-O binding.
Wide and Wonderful
Worth Higgins & Associates
WORTH HIGGINS didn't have to leave town to find a source of inspiration to tout its new six-color, 40˝ Komori sheetfed press. There were two obstacles to overcome: one, how to shake the perception of Worth Higgins as a half-size shop and, secondly, how to stand out in a market already teaming with full-size presses, all the while touting the value of the new capabilities?
The answer was "Wider Views of Richmond," a horizontal-format keepsake book, as well as seven large-format prints of panoramic views of the city that Worth Higgins calls home. The book was produced entirely in-house.
"Our sales representatives hand delivered each book to personally introduce the new press to our customers," states Susan Higgins. "They took orders for the prints during the initial sales call, and delivered them in a subsequent visit to reinforce the message. We negotiated a discount at a local frame shop for customers who wanted to have their prints framed. The concept works just as well in a new business call."
Photographer John Henley was commissioned for the shoot and Circle S studio provided the concept and design. Both parties are also based in Richmond.
Belk Printing Technologies
AFTER 30 years in business, Belk Printing had developed a solid reputation as a reliable, honest and hard-working printer. But the blue collar label was in need of revamping, as the company was investing $5 million to expand its facility and add new equipment to its prepress, press and bindery areas. The word "technologies" was added to the company name, along with a new corporate logo, to reflect the new direction Belk was taking.
The apex of the transformation is a wire-bound promotional book, "Making Your Mark with Master Printing," that salutes ancient cave artists and provides a look at Belk Printing Technologies' portfolio of enhanced products and services. Packaged in a box, the book features a wrap adorned with a faux arrowhead and raffia tie. A jagged-edge cloth, resembling a loin cloth, is inserted atop the book to protect the inside of the box top.
The book itself features snapshot-like reproductions of actual cave etchings, along with an annotated history on cave painting. Opposing pages reveal blurbs for the various levels of service Belk has to offer. Sprinkled in between is a humorous set of inserts for Kleb and Org of Kave Koncepts, which specializes in "cave painting & supplies."
"It would not have been possible for us to simply go to the market and verbalize our commitment about the new direction of this company," says Chris Reynolds, manager for project engineering/project management. "This piece speaks for itself and exemplifies our employees' expertise and their attention to detail."