Your Printer as a Partner

4 08 2013

The general perception in the marketplace is that print is a commodity. You can go online and get your printing from a number of sites and for some this is a good and relevant option. But one thing to keep in mind is that they are only going to produce what you give them. They will give you ink on paper in return for your money, but they will not care if the design is less than optimal, or the messaging is muddy, or even if the color is consistent on repeat orders. The secret to their success is volume and your project along with many others are produced all together on one big press sheet.

This can be a problem if color accuracy is important in the sale of your product. Furniture or fabric are two items that come to mind. If the color of your product and the color of your print advertising are not the same, your product may be coming back after the sale. If you have a logo and branding that center around a specific color or look, you may find that over time your print collateral is not consistent in it’s appearance. This is not because people don’t care, it’s just a consequence of the process. This is the biggest reason that most companies that have a brand well known in the market will not choose an online printer, but one that that will print each item for them as a separate and distinct project and not combined with others.

Take a look at the print for your company’s marketing efforts. Is it communicating the value that you offer? Is it pleasing to look at and the type easy to read? Does it carry the message of your brand consistently over time? These are the things that a good printing company can help you with. We know what looks good, we know how to make it look good and we know how to make it work better. The more effective your print collateral works for you, the better value it becomes for your marketing spend.

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Not all QR Code Reader Apps Are Created Equal

14 04 2011

Now that QR codes are starting to go a little more mainstream, those of us who were early on board the QR code train don’t have to jump around as much waving and screaming so people will listen. You might even say that QR codes have arrived. When you start seeing them in Time Square, on the giant Jumbotron at the House that Jerry built, and in your favorite magazine I think its safe to say that print has a new tool in the marketing arsenal. So what’s next? Qr codes can be printed, they can be tracked for metrics, they can be variable…but they have all the personality of a Borg Cube. They need a little creative to spice them up. So we’ve been messing around, and testing to see how spicing them up can affect their functionality, and what we’ve discovered may surprise you. It sure surprised me.

As a test, whip out your Smartphone and fire up your favorite Reader App, go here:  http://on.fb.me/hpbz5a (this is public link to a Photo Album on the Sorrento Mesa Facebook Page containing some test codes) and scan them and see what happens. What we found is that depending on your reader application, some will work, some won’t, some work all the time, and some don’t.

QR codes have a basic built in error correction function in their format so that if part of the pixels are blocked, the code will still render the destination URL. But if you exceed that error correction threshold, the code will not resolve to the destination site and the user will experience a failed scan. What’s interesting about all of this is that not all reader apps perform with the same success rate. Before I share what we’ve seen I want to state that this was a purely unscientific test and I make no claims about the viability or lack thereof of those apps mentioned, but clearly there were some trends that we discovered.

I asked some friends in my industry, all owners of other printing companies around the country to help me with the testing. Blackberry, Droids (various manufacturers) and iPhones were the three phones used and the apps listed were I-Nigma, NeoReader, ScanLife, QuickMark, Barcode Scanner, Optiscan, Beetag and Blackberry Messenger. Some worked, some didn’t. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but one thing that we discovered was that I-Nigma worked almost every time for all three of these test QR codes. Again, all of these reader apps will work for a Plain-Jane Black & White QR Code, its when we dress them up and put stress on the reader app to perform is where we see a major difference in the results.

The big takeaway for us with all of this is that if you decide to get creative with your QR codes, test, test and re-test. Use various apps and phones in combination to see what happens when scanned. The most important thing about QR Codes is that they work. Going forward we’ll be suggesting that people use I-Nigma as their reader app because of the success we witnessed in this informal test. You can download it here: http://www.i-nigma.com/Downloadi-nigmaReader.html .





A Printer Who Believes in More Than Print

9 06 2010

Lets face it, print is no longer the only game in town. I’ve met and talked to many printers who still concentrate their marketing efforts on direct mail, yellow pages and printed newsletters as the only way they communicate their message. Things have changed and we’ve seen a tremendous shift away from the “print-centric” mindset in the marketplace. However, there is now evidence that completely abandoning print may also be a mistake.  Marketers who run away from print may end up with an unbalanced communication strategy. Print is still very relevant and should  be used wisely in conjunction with other media (web, mobile and social). This more effective “cross-media” approach is more balanced and more effective in communicating your message to your target audience.

Recently I have seen change within the print community as many are now branching out and embracing social media as are most in the business world. The adoption rate is picking up as more and more of my printer friends are establishing Facebook Fan (or is it now Like?) pages and some of them are even beginning to tweet. I have a printer friend on the east coast who has turned into a powerhouse blogger. Every week she has something new to say. I only wish I could be more consistent with this blog. This is all very encouraging because social media takes time to understand and develop. The sooner you get started the sooner you are on the path to success with these new tools.

Most of my social media efforts has been centered around my business, because as most of my small business colleagues know:
You are your business and your business is you.

Here is my lineup of non-print media where you will find this printer:

Combined with web, mobile and social media there are many new tools in print media that are available that can make your print more effective, more powerful and elicit a much higher response rate. I’ll leave those discussions to another post.





Print in the Mix

4 06 2009

“Print in the mix” what does that mean? It means that print media is no longer a solo act, now it’s a voice in the choir.  Its part of the harmony consisting of all the marketing tools of today’s multiple media choices (web media, SEO, email marketing, social networks, broadcast media) that communicate your marketing message. For most of this decade, the marketing emphasis has been weighted towards web media. Consider that for a number of years now, when you ask most new creatives coming out of design school what media they want to design for, the answer is overwhelmingly, The Web.  But it is becoming more and more obvious that a balanced approach to communicating your message is much more effective, and a mainstay of that balanced approach is print media. Content should ideally be designed for both electronic and print media for maximum effectiveness.

Consider the advantages of print:

It’s credible.

Things that appear in print usually carry more weight with the reader.

It’s portable.

You can read the message without being near a monitor or a phone.

It’s convenient.

You can choose when and where you read the message, on your timetable.

It’s easily archived.

Print Media doesn’t need backups or protection against drive crashes.

It’s fun.

Try making a wicked paper airplane out of a web page.

Your print media should be used to inform, and also to drive readers to your website, where they can learn more about you, and you about them.

Work closely with your printer, he or she can help you in this process. Printers know how to increase the effectiveness of your print projects so you can spend wisely for the best results. Print media is a powerfully persuasive tool.

Use it.

For more specific information about the effectiveness of print media, I would invite you to visit  www.printinthemix.com








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