North Carolina Physical Therapy Association

5K run5K run

North Carolina Physical Therapy Association

Creative marketing creates a WOW! event

Debbie Ragan had big plans and big concerns when she visited us in the Spring of 2011. Her approach shows how thoughtful customers can work with their printers to create a big success.


When Debbie sat down with Mike and Sherry Mitchell she’d just been hired as the director of the North Carolina Physical Therapy Association. She was looking for help to plan the Association’s Fall Conference.  Her early call gave us a chance to help her think her project through.

A brief discussion brought her issues to the fore. She wanted to figure out the best ways to:

  • integrate her conference with the national association’s current theme—Move Forward: Physical Therapy Brings Motion to Life
  • integrate the conference with a new association website coming online
  • use new technology to best advantage
  • make the conference a fun and worthwhile experience for her attendees
  • produce professional materials, within her budget


Mike and Sherry immediately saw that Debbie had a lot on her plate and on the line.

As a new hire she was eager to make an impact with a major event. As a physical therapist herself, she was committed to giving her colleagues good value. And she was under pressure from the demands and deadlines associated with pulling off a big conference. On top of all this, there was a budget to consider.

Mike and Sherry’s job was to help Debbie come up with a workable plan, then to see it through so that everything was printed, mailed and delivered on deadline. From years of experience working for conference and meeting planners, all of us at Laser Image know that a conference is a date-critical event. Nothing can fall through the cracks.


The first idea that came out the planning sessions was to not mail out a pre-conference program to the membership, a major printing and postage expense that had proved ineffective to promote participation.

Instead, the group decided to promote the conference with postcard mailings, and divert the savings toward use of more color in signage and documents, and in testing new technology.

They also found savings by designing the conference handouts as colorful stitched booklets, instead of the large binders used in the past.

They decided that for all printed materials Laser Image would provide graphic designs that reflected the look of the association’s new website, to help tie together the organization’s brand.

They came up with the idea to insert a 5K run into the program, as a fun way to promote the national Move Forward theme. To further support the NCPTA brand, Sherry suggested giving each runner a water bottle that Laser Image would custom-label with the association’s logo. Guest speakers would also get a branded gift, in the form of a pedometer, custom-labeled with the NCPTA logo.

For added fun, and to encourage participants to visit the associated trade show, the planners came up with a game employing QR codes. Laser Image would print a poster with a unique QR code to post at each trade show booth. Participants visiting trade show booths would scan the codes to collect a list of secret words, making them eligible to enter a drawing for prizes.

Finally, Laser Image would make logo-labeled bags for guests to carry around all their information and goodies.

Results & lessons learned

This case shows the value astute clients derive when they involve their printers early in the event planning process, like Debbie did. You help yourself a lot when you view us not just as manufacturers, but as consultants who can contribute from the beginning of the process to the end.

The members said everything was SO classy, the best overall conference in years! They loved the QR game and the fact everything looked so professional and polished!
– Debbie Regan, NCPTA

Collaborative up-front planning costs you nothing. It simply lets you take advantage of our experience and the lessons we’ve learned from working on hundreds and hundreds of conferences and other time-critical events.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that the printing industry changes almost daily as new technologies, paper stocks and finishing options come online, and as printers such as Laser Image employ them to bring new services to their clients. Even if you are an astute print buyer you may be unaware of all the products and services you can get from a modern, digital print shop.

So don’t be shy! Call on us early. You’ll find us ready and willing to help.

About the NCPTA

Founded in 1951 as a Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association, the NCPTA promotes the profession in North Carolina, its members’ role in treatment of movement problems and by extension the health and abilities of the people of the state.

The association has more than 2000 members statewide who are physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy.

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Mike Dickinson, Account Manager and Estimator
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Mike Dickinson, Customer Service Specialist