Posted by: mngoodblogger | July 22, 2011

Why not do things on your time?

When did being tied to electronics get in the way of friends, family, work, school, life….etc. OK, so maybe that’s a little harsh. Think about this though, does someone you know own more than one cell phone and more than one laptop? A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless for fear of what might happen to my food supply, happens to own two cell phones and two laptops. The next question to ask would be, why?

The roommate owns two of each electronic device because one cell is for personal use and the other is for work, as are the laptops. This means that the roommate is permanently connected to work, even if he decides to miss a call, he still knows that the call came in thus eliminating any time off.

This is why most emails or mail that comes to them, seems like junk mail. To further compound the issue, there are pop up ads on the internet, radio ads, tv ads, and a host of other new ad possibilities utilizing mobile media. Nothing is wrong with these new ad mediums, however, they seem to be more invasive than anything else.

Not sure this is the best way to go about promoting this product.

With the way everything is handled today, it’s hard for one person to not have information about themselves in the digital world somewhere. So long as the most important things are kept safe, companies that know what movies, restaurants or retail shops you went to are able to connect with you on your time utilizing a more personal approach.

This is the beauty of the well designed mail piece. So long as it is not time sensitive it can sit on a person’s desk, table or chair for weeks at a time and still be effective. If the companies name is on the piece, then they are constantly in front of the potential customer, making their brand name stick out. Also, it’s non invasive and does not pop up to interrupt the persons day.

Posted by: mngoodblogger | July 11, 2011

Customers often wonder, “Do they know me?”

A few months back, after returning from vacation of 5 days, there should be a stack of paper as thick as an Almanac in the mail box right? Fact is, today the amount of junk mail being received has been dramatically cut.  Today there is the occasional offer from a credit card company, bill or invite to a wedding, but mail boxes are not nearly as full as they used to be.

On the contrary, the email box is another story. Often times there will be 30 minutes that go by and 10 new emails will come in, often times with irrelevant messages. Typically the average user will go through hundreds of email, then get to work.

To understand this knowledge can give insight into why people tend to think print is dead or dying. But it is not. Like most businesses today, it is evolving to reach customers with a more targeted approach. This means that the message meant to go to Tom will go to Tom and the message meant for Sally will go to Sally. There are still millions of messages that need to be conveyed on a daily basis, attracting the right person to the message is critical in achieving the business goals.

Inspiration and credit for inspiration goes to Mr. Farquharson at http://www.piworld.com/blog/the-print-dead-objection-commercial-printing-sales-bill-farquharson

Posted by: mngoodblogger | July 6, 2011

Save the headaches for another time.

The email inbox is piling up, voice mail reached it’s capacity days ago and it’s before noon.  Finally, the company is looking into developing a piece to leave with potential customers in case they are not in the buying mood immediately. This might be extreme, but it’s probably affected most offices at some point!

Why do some companies insist on using their front office staff, who is already burdened with paperwork, to design these pieces, when in the long run a graphic designer is going to end up being cleaner, and most likely will create a design that won’t be put in the trash?

The answer, according to most companies, is money. The thought being that utilizing your staff, who is already in the office, to design your materials will save you money over hiring another company who does the same thing for a living.

The inherent flaw with this thought is a combination of many factors that turns out to be more expensive for said company (unless of course your staff is full of graphics designers experienced in creating fantastic designs, in which case, you’ve hit the jackpot!). Let’s take a look at a few of the costs involved with using your front office staff  compared to a graphics designer.

The first factor is time. There is a lot of time that goes into creating a visually attractive piece. When the front office is hampered by trying to manage multiple tasks while still trying to be creative enough for an eye-catching piece, they are often tugged in two different directions. This will lead to sloppy performance at both ends of the spectrum. On one hand, general office work will be hampered thus slowing productivity within the office, leading to less money. All the while the final product’s image will most likely be compromised and turn out poorly.

Hey Jane, after you're done with the invoices, patient receipts, staff calendar, appointment follow up and my coffee, could you design a brochure for us?

The second factor to consider is the design itself. The idea of design was touched on briefly above, however, utilizing your front office staff compared to that of a trained designer can be costly on the back-end. When a graphics designer puts together a project, they will take into account the brand image along with the image of the overall piece. The designer will combine their training with knowledge they’ve gained from previous projects to create the new piece. If front office staff works on the project, chances are good that it will be their first time and typically issues will arise that slow the process down and ultimately will leave the project looking ineffective. On the front end you will spend a little more with the graphic designer, however the project will be completed on time, with a great design that is sure to keep customers aware of the company’s name (top of mind awareness).

Finally, a factor that should be considered when deciding on whether or not to use a graphic designer, is your customers, both current and potential. The current customer likes to know that your business is not going out of business. Nice looking pieces convey the message of financial strength. When others notice your financial strength, they will be more inclined to become your customer because they trust what you are doing. A graphic designer makes an impact here because they have designed something that will not only look impressive to your current customers, but may in fact add more customers on look alone.

Take for example a loyal customer of 5 years, how much are they worth to the company? $5,000? $15,000? $100,000? More? Paying a little more for a great graphics design on the front end can mean big payouts in the end.

Posted by: mngoodblogger | June 28, 2011

The Recycling Process

The Sunday paper, reader’s digest,  your bank statement, the box your iPhone came in; what do they all have in common? They can (and should) be recycled.

Clearly labeling where to put paper is a great idea!

Simple, right? It is if you become familiar with the process of how recycling is done and the steps that should be taken to make sure the product is recycled efficiently.

There are many steps involved in the process and going through one by one, from sorting to making a final product, will help explain what we can do to ensure the recycled products get the most use they can.

The first step, sorting, is more important than you may think. Recycled paper needs to be clear of food scraps, liquids, metals, plastics and other contaminants. Recycling centers will have to compost, burn the papers for energy or landfill the contaminated paper.

Once the paper has been picked up by the local recycling center, it will be transported to a warehouse at which time it will be stacked and saved until needed for processing.

When needed the paper is moved to the re-pulping and screening area. Here, the paper is essentially chopped down to the fiber stage and called pulp. Fibers are what make up the paper; they are the material from trees that give it strength! The  pulp is then moved to a screen where excess materials such as staples or glue are strained out.

Next, the pulp will move to the de-inking stage of the process. Here the ink may be removed by a couple of different processes. One such process uses a combination of air bubbles and surfactants. The ink will attach itself to the surfactants which in turn will attach itself to the air bubble that rise to the surface creating a frothy top layer. This layer is then removed from the now clean pulp.

The next stage the now clean pulp will move to is for refinement. Here the pulp goes through a process to whiten, and refine to be made into a specific type of paper. If the recycled material is going to be used as paper towels or something else that does not need refining, then it will not need to go through this process.

Once the pulp is whitened and brightened, it’s ready to be made into paper! Here the pulp will be mixed with other ingredients including, water, virgin pulp and chemicals to make a final product. Coated papers will be given their coating just before cutting for a unique look.

Finally the paper is ready to be made into large rolls, small rolls or cut into sheets for the printing company to use again! This process is very important in ensuring the vitality of the recycling that the print industry has been doing for decades.

please visit http://www.tappi.org for more great information!

Posted by: mngoodblogger | June 20, 2011

Understanding Sustainability, article 2

There is no mystery that in the last 50 years, the world has become more aware of how to recycle certain materials. In the case of paper, the process of recycling has become much more stable to allow for better pricing. Along with the price dropping, the quality of the recycled paper has become dramatically better therefore enhancing the recognition of recycled paper as a viable option.

Besides paper being recycled to make items used in everyday offices for letterhead, notepads, brochures, envelopes and business cards or mail campaigns, magazines, books and newspaper, what else can we use recycled paper for?

According to the EPA’s website, www.epa.gov, there are many more options for wood fibers other than common paper products. Some of these options include:

  • Masking tape
  • Paper money
  • Globes
  • Bandages
  • Dust masks
  • Hospital gowns
  • Coffee filters
  • Lamp shades
  • Car insulation
  • Animal bedding
  • Planting pots for seedlings
  • Egg cartons

There is no doubt that continuing to recycle the products we use will help to ensure the sustainability of the environment and the planet.

We do, do you?

Next post there will be a good introduction to the actual process of how paper is recycled and what happens with all of the waste.

Posted by: mngoodblogger | June 15, 2011

Do you understand green printing?

Have you ever wondered what “made with post-consumer waste”

Image: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

means, or what certain certifications stand for? How about inks? What are the most sustainable forms of printing?

The world of environmentally safe products can be confusing at times. So, for the next few weeks, this blog will try to answer some questions about what printers are practicing in environmental stability along with trying to simplify how you, the reader, can help in making sustainability part of your vocabulary.

The first misconception that can not be stated enough is that printing is sustainable. The process involves using pulp from a renewable energy, trees. It is known that paper makers in the U.S. plant more trees than they harvest in order to keep sustainability alive.

If we are going to talk about trees and the critical role they play in printing, then obviously paper would be the next product to understand. The biggest question people often have is what is the difference between recycled paper, and virgin paper?
Today more than ever consumers are conscious about what type of paper they are choosing for their print projects. Virgin paper is made using a new harvest of trees only. Recycled papers, depending on the amount of content (10%, 50%, 100%) will use previously recycled papers which go through a process to remove ink and remake the paper.

The process now has evolved so greatly that it is very difficult to tell the difference between recycled paper and virgin paper in regards to quality.

The biggest difference between the virgin papers compared to recycled paper is the savings on the environment. According to an article by Kelly Kubisiak in Quick Printing, “A single ton of paper made with 30% recycled post-consumer fiber saves three cubic yards of landfill space, seven trees, 3,000 gallons of water, and more than 4,000 BTU’s of energy.” The coolest part about this information is that there are calculators online that help you understand just how many trees, gallons of water and energy can be saved.

Some interesting sites include:

http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/

http://www.neenahpaper.com/Resources/Calculators/EcoCalculator

Posted by: mngoodblogger | March 14, 2011

With temperatures set to climb over the 50’s in Minnesota this week, the thaw is on! States in the North, Northwest, and even some southern states are ready for the start of spring. The most engaging part of the warm weather is being outside. If your business is not preparing for your customers to be outside, than clearly you are having too much fun in the snow. For those businesses ready to thaw their marketing efforts for outdoor weather please continue learning more.

 

Obviously one of the greatest things of the spring weather is being able to enjoy everything that goes along with being outdoors. If your company has potential customers constantly walking by, think about what options are out there to help them notice your shop.

A very common way for companies to attract potential customers into their store is to entice them with a sign making the statement: SALE! Make sure to have big letters, bright colors and finally, choose the type of sign most likely to get noticed.

I.                    A very popular choice today, signicades offer stability, amble sign space and offer year round availability. People love the signicade because of its simplistic relevance to the customer. The deal of the day can easily be put out and customers will naturally want to learn more.

Signicade

Standard Signicade

 

II.                  While signicades are great, businesses need sidewalk space to use them. Window clings offer an easy way to use window space that otherwise would be empty. Your standard 24×36” will fit nicely to show off a product or special you may have going on. There are many styles, from laminated, pressure sensitive adhesive, and now you can use the same material they wrap vehicles with so customers can see an image on the outside, and customers in store can still see outside.

III.                If these are not working to promote the business effectively, try a banner! The banner can be any dimension to fit the business. Typically, the larger the better with banners because they can make the business stand out in the crowd.

 

While these are just a few of the options regarding outdoor attraction for your business, remember that visiting your local print shop can make a world of difference when finalizing the look of the printed piece. Sitting down and talking with a print professional is the most effective way of deciding how the outdoor banner, signicade or window cling will effectively attract the most customers. Remember that top of mind awareness is the absolute best way keep customers coming back and to keep referrals being passed.

Posted by: mngoodblogger | March 7, 2011

They Feel So Nice!

A story was recently on CBS’s Sunday Morning Show about business cards and how they play a vital role in your company’s effort to get more business. The short video explains the importance of a unique design that is conceptual and helps the receiver understand your company and what it stands for. Apart from the actual design, it’s important to think about the feel of the card, so the right paper is equally important.

Think of some of the most memorable business cards you’ve received. Think about what colors were used, what type of material was used and how it made you feel about the company being represented. Business cards are not always limited to paper, but for the purposes of this article, the focus will be on different types of paper stocks.

A common decision is the choice between coated or uncoated paper stock.  Coated paper is simply uncoated paper that has been treated with a paint-like substance and buffed under pressure. Coated papers are referenced by finish. The three finishes for coated paper are gloss, dull and matt. Gloss is shiny, dull is smooth surfaced while low in gloss and matt is non-glossy and flat looking.

Other choices might be:

Felt: A moderately textured woven sheet that is typically a very environmentally friendly sheet. Use felt to show a “green” or natural approach. natural feel

Linen: The finish of linen is elegant and distinguished. Matching your business card, envelope, and letterhead with a linen finish is always in good taste.

Vellum: Vellum papers have a toothy, rough finish. Translucent Vellum Papers offer a very unique look.

 

Translucent Vellum Stock

Knowing the available papers is important. When you have an idea for a new marketing piece, talk with your local print or design shop. They can help make a choice that will make your project memorable and bring lasting attention to your company.

 

Grabbing the attention of the customer in the first 15 seconds is critical; having an expertly designed piece will most likely “grab” another minute to “wow” a customer for years.

Remember to ask the question, is this going to make my customers remember my company?

Posted by: mngoodblogger | February 15, 2011

How can design and preflight save you money?

It’s recently been brought to the attention of the printing industry that it is not as popular as it once was. “How can that be?!” you ask. Simply put, the industry could do more to educate the public about how to leverage print in a marketing mix. Teaching starts at the beginning, and that’s what the following blog is attempting to do. Read on to learn more about how to check a printed project beforehand to eliminate headaches down the road.

 

Commonly referred to as preflighting, the process of using a checklist before production is nothing new. The term naturally comes from the aeronautics industry. It was a checklist that answered the question “is this plane ready to fly?” A pilot’s failure to preflight might have severe consequences. A preflight check in the printing industry can also avoid some painful, costly consequences.

Even RV's have a checklist. (www.grandviewmotorhome.com)

Even RV's have a preflight checklist.

 

PREFLIGHT CHECKLIST

  • Make sure to check with your print provider to determine the type of files they require to print your project correctly. After you have confirmed that your software is compatible, here is an easy checklist to follow when ordering your next project:
  • Are the document size settings accurate?
  • Are bleeds associated with the project? If so, check for settings.
  • If you’ve imported (placed) art, it MUST be included in the project folder.
  • Be aware of imported image resolution, as it will affect the detail of your image when it is printed. (300 dpi is usually the minimum.)
  • Photoshop images should be flattened and saved as CMYK.
  • If you use spot colors, be sure to provide PMS/Pantone information.
  • Fonts are easy to overlook, but must be included in the project folder.
  • Once your project is complete, create a PDF to include in the job folder. This is a nice proof for the printer and can sometimes be used for printing. (If using a PDF for printing, check with the printer about settings.)
Posted by: mngoodblogger | February 8, 2011

The Power of a Note

As you are sitting at your desk, look around. Somewhere in the clutter, you’ll probably find a note. Maybe the note says, “pick up groceries” or “email Bill.” It might even say “remember to call you mother.” Although these might seem like a hassle, they are some of the most widely used pieces of marketing collateral in the world.

Stack-o-pads

Think about how often you have to remind your kids, your spouse, yourself of something to be done or an appointment that needs to be kept. Our lives are hectic, so these little notes are important. Whether it’s the reminders at home, a teacher thinking of lecture plans, an entrepreneur jotting down that great idea in the wee hours of the morning, the note intended to remind about the family dinner tonight or even a note while inside the car (writing notes while driving might be risky), these little pieces of paper can be life savers.

The notepad is nothing new, but there are so many options in styles. How do you choose between sticky or plain, square or round or even elephant shaped? The key is to consider who is going to be using the notepad and whether or not it is relevant to your company and it’s needs. A delivery company might use a notepad that is shaped like a car while a tax company can use a note pad that is rectangular but incorporates a calculator into the background. The marketer who understands how to brand a company logo onto a notepad while still maintaining the functionality of a mobile reminder is your company’s best friend.

The reality is, because notepads are so useful, it’s hard to find someone who absolutely does not use them. The key for your next adventure into branding is to understand how you or your company want to be perceived. Maybe, more importantly, how are you going stay “top of mind” with your customers? How do you leverage the power of the written note? Talk to a local professional and take advantage of some inside secrets.

This is the notepad of the person not to cross...www.ss42.com

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