The piece was hand-delivered rather than mailed, but one thing’s for sure: Their 1.5-inch, pizza-box-like footprint ensured that they were opened by the key executives who received them. To date, one resulted in a new client and the second led to a contract retention, reports Strack. The jury’s still out on the third.
With annual sales of $2.25 million, Strack said that digital revenues have surpassed offset in his 10,000 sq.ft. space, which houses 14x20-inch, two-color Heidelberg GTO and Printmaster sheetfed presses as well as a smaller format AB Dick machine. 2009 was a good year for CustomXM and its 13 full-time employees. For the first time, the North Little Rock firm was named as one of the Top 100 printing companies in the United States by PN’s sister publication, Quick Printing magazine. Its board game promo also won two Bennys, the highest honor in the annual Printing Industries of America Premier Print Awards for Customized Variable Data Digital Printing and the Self-Promotion categories.
Imtech Graphics of Carlstadt, N.J., is another Benny winner for a self-promotional piece demonstrating the printing and prepress firm’s range of capabilities. Entitled “We Do—We Can,” the 36-page folder features a double gatefold and vellum overleaves. “They’re used as a sales leave-behind but we could have just as easily mailed them,” said Rich Parillo, recently retired sales vice president. Imtech printed only 1,000 of its elaborate brochures.
Based near Chicago, Mark Vruno is a business writer who has reported on the commercial print industry for more than 20 years. Most recently, he was executive editor of Graphic Arts Monthly magazine. E-mail him at email@example.com.
For Printers, By Printers
Mike Stevens makes a living off of printers who can’t find the time to promote themselves. Twenty-two years ago, the former owner of Fargo, N.D. quick printer Express Press founded Ink Inc. as an ad agency specializing in designing direct-mail marketing for the printing industry. Today, more than 550 subscribing printers mail more than 660,000 pieces of Ink Inc.’s materials to businesses in their cities monthly. One of its products is FastStart, a monthly motivational fold-over postcard mailer that printers use to upgrade their professional image. Parent company MarketingIdeasForPrinters.com also offers newsletters and Web site packages.
“We believe that this direct-mail campaign is highly responsible for the fact that we have weathered the economic downturn with minimal effect on us,” said Dan Johnston, CFO of AJ Printing & Graphics, Santa Rosa, Calif., which has been an Ink Inc. customer for several years.
Direct Mail Links To Profit
For profit leaders in our industry, direct mail is frequently at the core of their marketing efforts and programs, said quick/small commercial printing consultant John Stewart. Almost without exception, they use direct mail to establish name recognition and to help open doors.
“In many cases, a prospect has received 15 to 20 mailing pieces from these print leaders before a sales representative gets to set foot inside the door ….” Stewart wrote in an online white paper at Ink Inc.’s Web site. “Whether it’s a simple two-color flyer, a postcard, or a complex, personalized four-color newsletter, the winners in our industry simply seem to do a much better job in the area of direct mail. They believe in it, they practice what they preach, and it is an integral part of their approach to managing their business. The result is the ability of these ‘winners’ to maintain sales and, more importantly, profits in both good times and bad,” he noted.
“While many printers give lip service to the effectiveness of using direct mail when times are good, they seem to be the first to postpone or even cancel their regular direct-mail programs when times turn bad,” Stewart added. “Not so for the profit leaders, who often see a recession as an opportunity to grow market share at the expense of their competitors—who are struggling. It’s not unusual to see the leaders redoubling all marketing efforts, especially those pertaining to direct mail.”