Author Archive for Richard

The report of my death was an exaggeration

Mark Twain writing

Evidence continues to mount that print and paper have benefits for how we buy and even how our children learn. Here are four relevant dispatches with links to more details.

94% of students say it’s easier to concentrate when reading from paper
Because there are fewer distractions when reading on paper, compared to reading on a device.1
E-book sales slip
Analysts predicted e-books would overtake printed books by 2015. Instead digital book sales slowed. E-book sales declined 10% in early 2015, Netflix-like e-book subscription services struggled, and the number of independent bookstores grew.2
Students learn better when working on paper versus keyboards

Students taking notes by hand learn better than those using laptops. Note taking by hand is slower, forcing students to organize material as they listen, leading to better comprehension of key points.

Among kindergarteners learning the alphabet and older students writing essays, those working on paper learn faster, read better and express more ideas than those working on computers. Brain scans – including those of kindergarteners learning the alphabet – show working by hand engages more of the brain’s centers for language, thinking and memory.3

Direct mail outperforms digital marketing in major neuromarketing study

In a controlled study that has a strong message for marketers, neuromarketing researchers using brain-imaging tools and eye-tracking tests found that direct mail more effectively promoted buying responses because it is easier to understand and more persuasive than both digital email and display marketing.

“Neuromarketing” applies brain-imaging tools to the study of marketing stimuli. This study used electroencephalography and eye-tracking tests to make measurements.4

Interesting observations about the state of print.

We can only wonder though, if Mark Twain had written his famous quote on a laptop instead of pen and paper – would he still agree?

  4. A Bias for Action Canada Post Corporation, July 31 2015

Short-Run full-color envelopes printed fast

Collection of full-color printed envelopes

We’re excited to announce we’ve installed a new, specialized envelope printer that can handle your envelope jobs in spot and full-color process, quickly and in practical quantities.

Our fully digital machine also prints variable data, so as an option you can have us address your envelopes on the fly, and even add custom messages. This way we can get your mailings out faster, and with greater impact.

Short-run envelope production specifications:

  • Four color process printing
  • Spot printing
  • Close matching of PMS colors
  • Variable data printing for personalized messages, addressing and bar coding
  • Practical run lengths: as short as 10 or 20 envelopes up to runs of 5,000+
  • Very fast turnaround: most orders delivered in 2 business days from proof approval
  • Prints sizes A2 up to 10 x 13

Laser Image provides full mailing services. If you need list acquisition and presort, along with insert printing, folding, inserting, and delivery to the Post Office, we can handle that too.

Irresistible Mail: Education from the USPS

Splash screen for USPS Irresistible Mail website

We came across something we thought you’d be interested in.

The United States Postal Service has posted a great slideshow about direct mail innovations.

Called Irresistible Mail, it highlights new technologies that use specially prepared mail pieces to trigger digital programs.

It covers ways to gather analytic insights about how people respond to your mailings.

You’ll find lots of linked resources to dig into, too—articles, white papers, and reviews of real campaigns.

We found Irresistible Mail colorful, well designed and to the point.

Give it a look – we think paper & pixels is a great way to reach your customers!

Transition splash screen for USPS Irresistible Mail websiteClick the image to open the USPS website

6 wide format facts for designers & marketers

Banner for American Tobacco Campus

  1. Smart marketers rely on digitally printed signage. The wide format market has a global retail value of $55 billion, and is expected to grow at a 6.5% CAGR through 2017.1
  2. Wide format works. 76% of respondents to a recent survey said they have entered a store based on signage alone. 68% have purchased a product because its signage caught their eye.2
  3. In the same survey, 68% of respondents said they believe good signs reflect the quality of a store and its products. Over half said they’re less willing to enter a store with poorly made signs.
  4. Today’s marketers allocate big budget dollars to signage. On average, 16.1% of all marketing dollars go to wide format graphics.3
  5. The most popular wide format applications are banners, posters, signs, and point-of-purchase displays.
  6. Best of all, there are lots of exciting substrates out there to choose from for your wide format projects. For example, this Digital Media Product Guide from MACtac describes a wide variety of their innovative solutions. Want to experience MACtac products by walking through 3D virtual room galleries? Check out their DesignScape3D app for Windows, Mac, iPad & Android.

Need more information?

Please call or contact us anytime to learn more about the large selection of wide format services we offer.

1. Printing Impressions (March 13, 2014), “Boosting Your Wide-Format Business”,

2. Small Business Bonfire, “Four Reasons You Should Be Using Signs for Your Retail Business”,

3. InfoTrends, “Wide Format Printing: A Critical Element in the Communications Mix”,

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.

Why we love Mohawk Maker Quarterly

Opened copy of Mohawk Maker Quarterly magazine

Photo Credit: Mohawk

At Laser Image we love the Mohawk Maker Quarterly so much that we have to recommend it to our friends.

The Mohawk Maker Quarterly, published by Mohawk, celebrates craftsmanship and craftsmen, people who make real things—designers, potters, photographers, woodworkers and the like—in a colorful journal, available free to subscribers.

In Issue #8 you can read about how great branding is rooted in creating positive feelings, why good design matters, and why, the music fan’s online go-to, launched a print magazine.

It’s fascinating stuff, short, sweet articles for anyone interested in designers making beautiful things you can touch and hold in your hands.

Read it online—or better yet sign up for your own free subscription to the magazine. It will make you happy to see it—and hold it—when it shows up in the mail.

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.