In Printing, The Old Becomes New

How many of you have stuff in the wardrobe that is so old that eventually it comes back into style? I’m sure there is a few of you that ran across this phenomenon.

But if you’re anything like me though, you just can’t seem to wear it again even though it comes back. Maybe it’s the memories associated with the particular item. I have to give it away. Now, if it’s someone else’s used stuff, then game on!

Where am I going with this you ask? Let’s look at the printing industry. Printing has been around for centuries, and let’s be honest, not much has changed a lot in the past four or five hundred years. Sure we have cool new colors and the machines that put the ink on the paper look a little different, but the overall concept remains the same. So where does that leave us?

Enter the digital age. Today, everyone is bombarded by digital advertising, whether it is through an advertisement through an app or a Facebook page or mobile ad or a link through twitter. Well, if you’re like me again, those things can get very easily ignored simply from the sheer quantity of stuff out there. Eventually, nothing looks different. Nothing stands out. Nothing catches your eye… because you’re viewing it through the same 4″ screen.

That’s what excites me about printing. To me, it’s the most valuable advertising mediums, because it lasts. The things that are printed have staying power as though it seems. If something is well designed and has a clever concept, I may just keep it for a while just because I like the cleverness of it. All the while I keep it, that company’s brand image is being tattooed on my brain. Next time I think of that type of product or service, chances are I’ll think of that cleverly designed, printed message.

Beautifully designed brochure

Not only that, but there is a handmade movement happening right now in manufacturing and in the retail setting. People want to know that the stuff they buy is made by real people – not only that, but extremely skilled craftsmen – who have hopes and dreams, and also believe in creating something to the best of their ability.

I know a few press operators that truly believe in producing work at the highest level. They come in pushing buttons and turning dials on sophisticated printing equipment in order to lay that ink on that crazy textured or super glossy paper so your images look perfect. They are seeking the most vibrant colors. Their eyes are tuned to not seeing a picture of a family, but a series of dots with percentages of colors. It’s truly fascinating watching a master at work.

Pressmen operating printing press 1920s

Printed advertising will create a different experience that no digital advertisement can  match. Paper textures, ink colors, and overall size, pages, all create a story. The possibilities are endless. You can take them to a place, a moment when they felt young, or paint an image of something they want to achieve. Plus, viewers probably don’t see printed items as much as they did in years past, so this can be a whole new sense for them.

That is what excites me about the print industry. It’s not ever going away. It becomes more valuable to marketers. It may be changing, but that just means those who take advantage of it will get more out of it.

Taking on Challenges with the Power of Positivity

Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors.

African Proverb

This week I’m taking a step to look at challenges. First off I’ll admit, this is not a “I’m Telling You What to Do or Think” post, but more as an affirmation for myself.

What do we do when we are challenged? Or maybe I should ask, what do I do when I’m challenged? I’d like to think that I bounce forward and press on. But do I, or do I give myself permission to take what would be considered the easy road? It looks attractive, believe me. But is it healthy to go down it?

Most people probably would say no, it’s not good. They may even write blog posts about it saying you shouldn’t give in (Glad I’m not one of THOSE guys!). But sometimes when you’re faced with the challenge personally, even those thoughts of “What you should do” vanish like you were experiencing life again for the first time, without your handy Press-On Quote Book. You may even start taking a couple steps down the easy path because you think it feels right. Everything tends to follow the path of least resistance.

Power of Positive Thinking

Lately I’ve been tweeting quotes to the hashtag #powerofpositivethinking because it’s my affirmation to take a stand. I’ve been reading Eric Lofholm’s book, “The System,” where he challenges people learning sales skills to verbalize their goals. My goal is to be positive, no matter what. Simple and not salesly, but a huge element nonetheless.

So far It seems to be working. A problem that has popped up that I may have reacted differently, I took a different look at. That instant – I was happier. After all, I think all human beings long for challenges, or at least the feeling of completing a task successfully.

positive-attitude

A world without that positive way of thinking gets pretty dark and lonely. To me, you only have two options. To face the challenge and rebrand it as “This is an exciting opportunity to be a problem solver” rather than, “Ugh this happened again!” has helped my overall attitude and demeanor BIG TIME since implementing the goal.

I’m not saying I’m perfect. But like I said before, with this affirmation to make my goal of being a Positive Problem Solver no matter what the situation, I hope to reach my goals faster.

I’ll let you know when I get there.

Focus – The real value in printed communications

This week I’m taking a step away from the Marketing Calendar Planning Series to focus on… well, focusing.

After reading Erin Anderssen’s post “Digital overload: How we are seduced by distraction“, we can see how easy it is to get distracted through apps, iPads, smartphones and perpetual links to an endless internet.

So here’s what I found works for me:

Disconnect. Difficult to do sometimes, yes. I kind of equate it to going to the gym, only mentally. I subscribe to magazines. Books and other forms of printed media (not those e-readers either!) work also.

Printed communcations

For me, there is something extremely enriching about picking up a good book or magazine. I’m not sure about you, but I can get MUCH more out of a written magazine article than an online post. I think this is because when I’m on the internet, I’m usually skimming through material, and not really immersing myself in the writer’s content fully.

Marketers: that is a point that is BIG to consider.

When there are less distractions, you can focus completely. When I put all of your attention to one particular activity, I find I’ll not only retain the information better, but it also means more to me.  I think over time, it actually strengthens your “focusing muscles” so you can focus better.

Connect Fully by Disconnecting

So if I were you, I’d give it a try. Do yourself a favor at times and leave the TV off, and pick up a real book or magazine (with paper pages!)…or even a newspaper. If you incorporate this into your regular routine, who knows – you may rediscover a whole new world.

Marketing Calendar Planning Series: Step 3 – Getting Funding

This week I’m returning to my Marketing Calendar Planning Series posts to investigate the next crucial step in building a successful marketing campaign – getting funding.

Just to recap, so far we’ve gotten a project idea and put it together in a thoughtful, digestible package, aka “Getting Your Project Off the Ground”. Then after we considered the best ways to get our campaign message to our key demographic in “Bringing the Message to Your Audience,” in the second stage of building your marketing calendar. Now that you’ve decided on the channel(s) that your campaign needs, you probably need some money. This is where things may get tricky.

get_funding

Now sometimes this part is easy. After you pitch the idea to the key person in your organization (VP of Sales and Marketing, Marketing Manager, the CEO, etc… the person with their hands on the bucks) they may just fall in love with it. This is good. Actually this is probably the best way to start off your campaign. Once you see you can build that emotional connection with the person in charge, chances are you have a pretty well thought out concept and you’re off to a successful start. If the key person feels the emotional connection, your audience will as well.

Other times you may have to do a little bit more work. Sometimes you can’t hit any emotion. If this is the case, you may have to make it make sense on paper. This is where data comes in to play. Make ROI your friend, because that line in the proposal is going to be looked at the most, questioned, a determining factor whether or not you get the funding you need.

getting a return on your marketing investment

Example

Say for instance your key demographic is married mothers from ages 28-35. You’ve determined after some study that they like to listen to a certain type of music. Your channel could be radio advertising. Earn an extra plus if your product or service is somehow connected to music.

Now radio advertising isn’t cheap. You want to have your message perfectly tailored to fit your audience so when members of your target demographic hears your message, they respond.

Landing pages

I usually like to use landing pages as a call to action. They are easy to track using Google Analytics, and they are not expensive if you do most of the work yourself. I’ll have more on this in Step 5 of the Calendar Series. In a nutshell, at this point you have to predict with some thoughtfulness the results of your campaign.

Data

A key component in your proposal is data. You need data from a previous campaign or study that shows the results you’re trying to achieve. Documenting this will show the powers that be the benefits of your campaign to your organization. Naturally, your results have to show a bigger return than the money you are asking for.

Hopefully this gives you some direction for building a solid proposal. Following these steps are even good for you to get a better handle on your campaign. Taking the time will help you focus on what’s important and what isn’t, and it will hopefully give you the results you’re looking for.