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Custom printed magnets: A better tchotchke

refrigerator magnet

In previous posts about Nuts & Bolts of a Marketing Campaign we’ve talked about the importance of graphic design, dimensional printing, dimensional mailers, Augmented Reality and how we used these in our own 12 Touch marketing campaign. Now we add tchotchkes, those small objects that are more decorative than functional and are meant to be fun or eye-catching, like a custom printed magnet.

To open doors for our business development team, we’ll go to great efforts to build attention and interest. This makes sense because the long-term value of a new customer is very high for us. Besides, direct sales can be tough these days. Getting an appointment isn’t easy. Groundwork must be laid.

What role did a magnet play in our 12 Touch marketing campaign?

Our magnet provides one more unique touch that builds awareness, and showcases a tchotchke that we can produce in-house.

Designed with a fun message and image, accompanied by a hand-written note that played off the theme of the magnet – we hoped people would find it amusing enough to keep and display and even prompt them to give us a call.

We print small, refrigerator-sized magnets like this one, and large ones for vehicles. Our standard stocks are:

  • 14 mil Magnum Magnetics for “refrigerator” magnets
  • 20 mil Magnum Magnetics for vehicle magnets

Magnets can be UV coated or laminated and corner-rounded for added effect. And at Laser Image we print in the quantity that suits your need.

Try a magnet for your next premium tchotchke. With clever design, magnets have value and staying power – literally.

Augmented Reality: a powerful tool for marketers

iPhone scanning a layAR trigger on a wall calendar

(This is the fourth post in our Nuts & Bolts of a Marketing Campaign series)

When the Laser Image graphic design team envisioned our 12 Touch Campaign, they decided to showcase as many of our print capabilities as possible.

One of their show and tell creations is the dimensional mailer below that uses Augmented Reality (AR) to deliver a multimedia message.

AR is a hot technology – think Pokémon Go – that lets you tie together printed information and digital information delivered to a device, in a single coherent communication. Early adopters have used AR on products. We’ve put AR on paper.

Direct mail piece for the 12 Touch campaign

Direct mail piece for the 12 Touch campaign

Click image to enlarge

In our mailing, AR works like this. The mail tube encloses a wall calendar as a premium gift for the carefully selected prospects on our list. And it’s a special calendar with a “trigger image” on it. The trigger image is a feather in the top-left corner, and it does something new and exciting.

A printed band around the outside of the calendar invites recipients to download a special app, and then to scan the feather with their cell phone cameras. When they do, a custom video starts up and plays on their screens.

In AR marketing, the print piece that triggers media on your reader’s phone doesn’t have to be a calendar. It could be a postcard, a poster or banner, the label on a wine bottle, or whatever suits your particular campaign. It’s up to you. You just have to embed an image in the piece to serve as the trigger.

The technology is flexible, allowing you to use it to fit your needs. The trigger image can take you to a website, can send an email, help you purchase a product, make a phone call, “like” something on social media, play a slide show. Recipients can view the message on cell phones, tablets, laptops with cameras, and, sooner than we might like to think, wearables.

It’s easy to imagine how AR can leave strong impressions and get across complex messages.

In the mailing under discussion here, we wanted to hit a triple. We designed the mailer to:

  • Demonstrate our abilities with Augmented Reality marketing
  • Highlight, via the video, our custom wallpaper (wall art) product
  • Intrigue our recipients by showing them something fun about Laser Image through the use of AR and video

Custom wall art is another capability we’re working hard to make marketers aware of. Printed on wallpaper stock in vibrant latex inks, and tiled for ease of installation, wall art is designed to the dimensions of your room, using custom images and patterns, or even your own photos. Use wall art to completely refresh a corporate lobby, a restaurant, a living room or baby’s nursery, or any other room where you want to showcase your own messages, palette and taste.

Take a moment to view the short video of us redecorating our lobby with custom wall art. It is the same video featured in the AR mailer above.

Is Augmented Reality a marketing tool for you? Is custom wallpaper? Give us a call. We’ll be happy to tell you more about these exciting new possibilities and discuss how they could work in your marketing mix.

How to run a killer B2B direct mail campaign using dimensional mailers

Dimensional mailer - rolled-up calendar mailed in a tube

(This is the third post in our Nuts & Bolts of a Marketing Campaign series)

In a previous post we discussed an example of a dimensional print product that we delivered by hand as part of our 12 Touch Campaign. But what about dimensional mail pieces such as boxes, tubes, or padded envelopes?

Dimensional mail is a great way for B2B marketers in small and medium-sized companies to start up a conversation with key prospects and keep sales momentum moving. But to succeed with dimensional mail, marketers have to learn to think and work in a new way.

Well-planned dimensional mail campaigns are more affordable than you may think. What’s better, they often deliver response rates and returns on investment that are far higher than those of conventional mail campaigns. This makes them a great choice for marketers who want to turn high-value prospects into big customers.

Because of its unusual shape, a dimensional mailer usually zips past the gatekeeper to the desk of your prospect, who is unlikely to discard it unopened. The mailer takes the form of a 3D piece, so your designer has a big canvas to lay out your offer, message and brand. Inside the mailer you have room to include letters, sales collateral and promo items. And by its size, design and thoughtfulness, the mailer itself sends a positive message to prospects. It says to them, “To me, you’re worth sending something special.”

So how do you run a dimensional mail campaign that pays off?

The key is to think quality over quantity. This means:

  1. Do whatever it takes to compile a small but super-qualified list
  2. Invest in a memorable campaign that delivers your message with impact
  3. Follow up tenaciously and immediately with your prospects

Note that the emphasis on a small list and a sophisticated custom mailer is the opposite of how conventional mail campaigns are run. This is the new marketing thinking I referred to above.

In conventional campaigns, marketers work to get the cost of mailers and postage as low as possible, and go for the largest distribution they can afford. They content themselves with very low response rates, hoping to make it up in volume. Dimensional mail programs require that the direct marketer focus on quality prospects, quality mailers, and quality follow up.

1. Your list
Because dimensional mail costs more to print and post than conventional mail does, you want to make doubly sure it gets in the hands of high-yield prospects. Small, internal lists are a great for this. In many cases, your list doesn’t have to have more than 100 names on it to bring you a great return—so long as it’s the right list.
Review your company’s database to identify your very top prospect companies. Then do online research and make as many phone calls as necessary to your target companies to make absolutely sure you’re mailing to the right people.
2. Designing your campaign
Good creative is worth it. Find a design partner who can help you come up with a memorable concept that strongly communicates your offer, along with first-class copy and graphic design. Talk to your designer about personalizing the printing on your mailers for added rapport. This is easy to do.
A great creative partner will help you decide whether to use a tube, a pre-cut box (for example, Mohawk’s MakeReady pre-converted substrate), or a custom box designed to underscore your message. A skilled designer also knows how to keep you within your budget, and will help you decide what to put inside your mailer to grab attention and reinforce your offer.
3. Follow up
Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. By phone, by email, by personal visit. You won’t succeed otherwise. The whole point of dimensional mailings is to intrigue your prospects with your brand, your offer, and your thoughtfulness, so they’re warmed up to talk to you further. Make sure this happens.
It’s good practice to send mail out in batches small enough that you can follow up on each and every piece. This should be whatever number your reps can handle, even as few as 10 or 20 a week. Digital print shops can accommodate batch mailings like this, even if you’ve designed a complex full-color, personalized mailer. Use their on-demand capability to your advantage to follow up effectively.

At Laser Image we can help you with any or all steps of your direct mail campaigns, including dimensional mail. Call on us for graphic design, full color printing, on demand production of staged mail programs, mail piece assembly, list preparation, addressing and bar coding, and delivery to the post office.

Graphic Design: Print in a new dimension

Graphic Design: Getting people to open your direct mail

Co-authored by Katie Beth Groover

Photo of a person writing a note to a customerPhoto of a person writing a note to a customer

(This is the first post in our Nuts & Bolts of a Marketing Campaign series)

Great printing starts with great design.

When it comes to a marketing campaign, great printing – meaning printing that rings the cash register – must start with graphic design grounded in sound marketing principles.

Laser Image customers work with us for years or even decades, so we’re comfortable making big efforts to win over strategic prospects. We know that even a lengthy campaign will pay for itself in time – if we attract the right customers.

To see how good design and modern digital printing presses can produce an attention-grabbing campaign mailer, let’s look at an example from our own 12 Touch Campaign.

Direct mail piece for the 12 Touch campaign

Direct mail piece for the 12 Touch campaign

Click image to enlarge

The first goal of any campaign must be to let your prospects know who you are and what you’re selling. We use an established marketing concept called AIDA: capture their Attention (A) and Interest (I) which will in turn lead to a Desire (D) for your product that culminates in an Action (A) to buy.

The first step – Attention (A) – means you need to get them to OPEN your mail and READ your message. We decided that using bright colors and an unusual format for our campaign letter (the first of our 12 touches) would grab the recipient’s eye. So, we designed a bright, square trifold mailer.

Our letter’s unique packaging requires the recipient to become hands-on involved. First, they open a hand-addressed envelope. Inside the envelope, a second “faux” envelope is folded around the square trifold mailer, presenting them with a nice package to unwrap – like a gift in the mail.

Once opened, we used two techniques to present a personalized message: digital (variable data printing) and an old school, hand written note. We feel the combination of personalization, vibrant graphics, and layered packaging gives our prospects a moment of fun when they open their mail.

Conventionally, designers have approached the problem of getting people to open mail by printing teaser messages on a standard envelope, or designing the envelope to mimic an official communication from a government agency. Sometimes direct mail comes in a plain envelope, in hopes of enticing a curious recipient to see what’s inside.

Today you have new and better options. Digital printing and clever new paper stocks — not to mention the power of personalization and the availability of short-run, affordable color printing – opens up new ways to grab attention and involve people with your message. The potential for this new technology is limited only by your imagination.

Long-term, nurture marketing like our 12 Touch program works for us but you may have other needs. Whatever they are, contact us. Our design team can create marketing pieces that work for you.

Winning the Gwen Doster Judges’ Choice Award

PICA Judges' award & program bookletPICA Judges' award & program booklet

The award

The Printing Industry of the Carolinas (PICA) celebrated its 50th PICA Awards Banquet April 16, 2016 at the Embassy Suites & Convention Center in Concord, NC. Over 270 industry professionals attended the milestone event.

This year, the PICA Awards attracted more than 630 entries from 47 printing companies, along with more than 125 entries from 5 graphic arts high schools and 7 college graphic arts programs from across the Carolinas.

Winner of 20+ PICA awards in prior years, Laser Image Printing & Marketing was especially surprised this year when presented with the coveted Gwen Doster Judges’ Choice Award.

Gwen Doster was a 35 year employee of PICA from 1975-2011. Working for five different presidents and thirty-six chairmen of the board, she made an indelible mark on PICA reflected in the establishment of “The Gwenny” – an award for the printed piece possessing the most unique combination of quality, craftsmanship, beauty and integrity.

The designer

Katie Beth Groover

A recent honors graduate from Raleigh-Durham’s prestigious Art Institute, Katie Beth Groover wears many hats. She is a freelance designer, owner of Groover Design, and also a Customer Service Representative at Laser Image.

Says Groover, “For our senior project at the Art Institute we had to design a self promotional package. I like books. A book gives you multiple pages to explain yourself. I like packaging too. I wanted one neat package that could hold everything. Plus my writing is conversational – so making a book just seemed like the way to go.”

The product

Wrapping the outside of Groover’s piece you’ll find her resume, on the inside her story book. The resume wrapper invites you to look inside, holds her business card, and serves as a sleeve for a panoramic, pocket-sized infographic booklet.

The resume and business card were printed on 110# Mohawk Loop Urban Grey paper and used white ink. According to Groover, “I’ve always like the contrast white ink on a dark background provides, but not every shop has that capability. At Laser Image we have several presses that can lay white ink. Our HP Indigo 5600 digital press was perfect for this project.”

Utilizing a special bindery service that Laser Image provides, the “lay-flat” panoramic book proved ideal for graphic storytelling. Says Groover “… with this kind of book each spread is one sheet – you don’t have a gutter where the pages connect, so you can lay out your design across both pages and not worry about losing information in the middle.”

Each spread in Groover’s story book is a different infographic. Some are serious, others whimsical. Working on it a couple of days per week, the entire project took about 5 weeks from start to finish.

When asked which spread she likes most, Groover replied “The pancakes! And I really like how personal it turned out, that I got to tell my story.”

The printer

Laser Image Printing & Marketing offers a full range of services – design, printing, finishing, campaign, and fulfillment – to handle most every business communication need.

With a wide range of equipment and a talented, well-seasoned production and design staff – Laser Image CEO Kelly Clark keeps the company passionately focused on meeting its corporate promise: Right on Time. Your expectation, our inspiration.

When announcing the award in her latest Laser Image blog post, Clark says “I am so proud of Katie Beth and her colleagues at Laser Image for producing work that upholds the values that this award represents. “

Gwenny-1240x856

Paper – It’s meant to be touched

Come Alive with New Creativity spiral bound bookCome Alive with New Creativity spiral bound book

Available in a vast array of weights, colors, finishes, coatings and fibers, paper is a delight to the eye—and to the fingertips.

We’ve put together a book, Come Alive with New Creativity, so you can see and feel what can be achieved with great design and HP Indigo printing combined with well-selected papers.

We want to put a copy of our book in your hands, because when it comes to understanding the impact of paper on your communications, we believe feeling is believing.

Substrate: Masterpiece Graphix, 16pt Cherry wood veneer

Substrate: Masterpiece Graphix, 16pt Cherry wood veneer

Click image to enlarge

Designed to educate your mind and ignite your imagination, Come Alive with New Creativity is available at no charge to established graphic designers and marketers of all kinds, as well as to anyone with a project in hand that involves breakthrough design and digital printing.

Wow your clients with white ink printed on dark substrates for a new look

Wow your clients with white ink printed on dark substrates for a new look

Come Alive with New Creativity is a sampler. Each page highlights a select image, printed on our HP Indigo press, on a well-chosen stock, and lists specifications on the substrate, printing process, and potential uses of the piece.