Association Insights: Your ‘One-Stop’ Opinion And Information Resource

Where can you find discussions on postal payment options, three-ring binders, and acquisition outreach programs all in one place? The AMSP/NAPL/NAQP Connected Community is a 24/7, one-stop advice and information resource and opinion forum for all industry segments, including commercial print and copy-shop owners and managers.

The consolidation earlier this year of the Association of Marketing Service Providers (AMSP), the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL), and the National Association of Quick Printers (NAQP) led to the introduction of an expanded Connected Community (http://ilink.Me/ConnectMe) as a robust center for printing, mailing, fulfillment, and marketing services management information.

Do you have business questions, problems, or just need some inspiration? Ask your peers and the experts on the Connected Community. The interactive site hosts discussion groups that tackle a wide variety of issues, with new discussions daily.

A sampling

During one recent week, for example, there was a conversation about how to set up a special mailing project for a customer seeking to sell a high-end house in a sagging real estate market. Several printers detailed their experiences (positive and negative) with similar campaigns and offered constructive suggestions as to how to make such a campaign work or why to suggest alternative approaches to the customer.

Other discussions sought input (and got it) about accessing a “universal deceased list” to update mailing lists, finding creative ways to promote local businesses with a type of “welcome wagon” direct mail piece for new residents, and seeking others’ positive or negative experiences using a press a member was contemplating purchasing. The latter discussion elicited lots of first-hand, real-world responses that could help reinforce and/or counter-balance a supplier salesperson’s claims.

And one conversation started with this question: “I have a client that will distribute postcards to their customers, and then the customers will in turn address them and mail to other various destinations…. My client wants to know if there is any way of paying for the postage on the pieces that are actually mailed, but not have the customers who are mailing them pay the postage.” Responses from fellow printers and mailers provided specific information about U.S. Postal Service programs that could offer a solution.

The aim of the Connected Community is to “keep the conversation going,” and both association members and visitors are encouraged to log on and add their voices and experiences to the discussions. In addition to these discussion threads, however, the Connected Community hosts many other resources such as blogs, articles, and archived webinars. A sampling of recent blogs includes postings such as:

  • Technology expert Howie Fenton on what to keep in mind if you are considering purchasing new Macintosh computers.
  • Tag and label industry veteran Tom Cobery asking, “Does the perceived value of your business equal reality?”
  • AMSP/NAPL/NAQP Chief Operating Officer Ken Garner on tackling the work/life balance challenge.
  • Caliper Corporation Director Kai Faltot on “Who are the ‘right people’ for sales...and what do the wrong ones cost your company?”
  • Sales guru Bill Farquharson on “Why you should NEVER mail a sample.”
  • Economist Andy Paparozzi on what printers see as the biggest obstacles to profitable growth.

The Connected Community Library offers users a place to post other resources they want to share. It contains downloadable materials such as conference presentations, event brochures, white papers, articles, and USPS guidelines and regulations. 

In addition, the site’s Member Resources section provides archived association magazines, newsletters, recorded webinars, and articles from such publications as Bottom Line magazine and the NAQP News, Postal Points, Printing Business Conditions, and Management Bulletin newsletters. Go to today to join the conversation.

Save the Date

It’s not too early to start planning for the annual NAQP Owners Conference. The theme for this year’s event, Sept. 25-27 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, is “The Sky’s the Limit.” Fittingly, the opening keynote will be a presentation by author and radio show personality Bryan Dodge of Dodge Development, Inc., on “How to Have Your Best Year Ever.” Dodge will also present a breakout session on work/life balance and “building a team that works without you.”

Also on the 2014 conference program: breakout sessions on how to choose between outsourcing or handling mailing in-house; how to deal with the latest round of healthcare law changes and challenges; and exploring wide-format printing opportunities. The always-popular ideas exchange and vendor forum will also be featured, and, back by popular demand for this year’s event will be the most talked-about speaker at the 2013 conference, Mike Rayburn, world-class guitarist, stand-up comedian, and authority on personal development and human potential.

 To register or for more information, go to