A Second Helping of Thanksgiving

December 2, 2013


By Doug Traxler, Chief Development Officer and Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing

I am fresh from a long Thanksgiving weekend spent with family and friends, and hope that you also enjoyed time with people you care about. The WebbMason team continues to give thanks this morning. I am not just referring to the leftover turkey sandwiches many of us packed for lunch today. We are starting the new week with some great news: WebbMason once again topped the charts of Print Solutions magazine’s annual Leading Distributors issue in several categories based on 2012 revenue. Print Solutions is published by the Print Services and Distribution Association (PSDA), an industry group whose members comprise a broad network of supply chain partners representing approximately 1,000 companies with more than $5 billion in combined annual sales. In other words, PSDA represents the best of the best in the commercial printing and marketing services industry.

WebbMason placed first in the Commercial Printing category and is the second largest distributor across all categories. WebbMason also finished among the Top 10 in the Marketing and Creative Services and Technology Services categories. You can access the 2013 Leading Distributors issue of Print Solutions here.

Among all PSDA members nationwide, WebbMason is the:

– #1 Seller of Commercial Printing
Print Solutions Aug 13 cover

– #2 Distributor across all categories

– #2 Seller of Direct Mail

– #2 Seller of Labels and Tags

– #2 Seller of Promotional Products

– #2 Seller of Traditional Products

– #5 Seller of Marketing and Creative Services

– #9 Seller of Technology Services

WebbMason is proud to once again secure sales leadership positions in every applicable category. Given the number and quality of fellow PSDA members considered for the annual survey, WebbMason’s performance is a significant accomplishment. Our success is the result of hard work from every member of the WebbMason team; clients who truly partner with us; and our commitment to innovation in services, products and technology.

WebbMason’s investments over the past several years succeeded in transforming the company into a complete marketing services and technology provider. Interactive services and our marketing management software – MarketingBench – are WebbMason’s fastest growing offerings. Adoption by traditional print and promo clients has been terrific. We are their comprehensive, multichannel marketing resource. And interactive services such as web design and development have been a major point of entry for new clients.

In closing, if you are a WebbMason client, thank you for your business; if you are a colleague, thank you for your contributions; if you are a partner, thank you for helping us become the top distributor in the country. And thanks to everyone for reading.

Advertisements

Why Does My Logo Look Different? 3 Things to Help Digital Marketers Find Their True Colors

October 30, 2013

By Eric King, VP Operations, WebbMason Commercial

With apologies to quirky 80s pop queen, Cindy Lauper, the “true colors” used to support or even define a brand might not translate into various media – print, digital, billboards, three-dimensional items – the way they were intended. This is problematic. To understand the importance color plays in shaping the identity of a brand, try this quick test. Ask the next group of women you see what company’s products are packaged in “little blue boxes”, or ask just about any guy in the Plains states who makes the big green tractors. You are very likely to get the answers Tiffany and John Deere without much thought (and usually accompanied by a smile).

According to design website Color Matters (www.colormatters.com), “80 percent of visual information that we take in is related to color” and that is perhaps why the connections between emotion, color and brand are so intrinsically linked.

The availability of cheap and easy digital printing has made many digital-native marketers unaware of the basics of color management for printed items. Below are three things every marketer should understand to significantly improve the color consistency of their printed projects.

1)      Color Management (What is the Pantone Matching System?)

Printing Color swatches

The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is an internationally recognized system for specifying colors. By assigning a numerical value to each unique hue, marketers and printers can maintain consistency across different media, printing processes, and even geographies. Most seasoned marketers can tell you their brands’ PMS color off the top of their head as it becomes a very important element for maintaining brand integrity.

 2)      Spot Color vs. Process Color: What’s the Difference?


To professional printers, all colors of a printed piece are defined as either “process” or “spot.” Each is created in a different manner and each can produce different results.

  • Process color uses half-screen dots of colors to create the illusion of solid colors to the human eye. Often called 4 Color (4/c) printing, Process color screens a specific percentage of each of the four color inks – cyan, magenta, yellow and black, (usually abbreviated “CMYK”) onto a surface.
  • Spot Color is produced by pre-mixing ink pigments, in appropriate quantities. Think about mixing yellow and blue paint to get green in grade school. Spot color is created in a similar, although much more precise, manner. Once mixed, the finished spot colors are then applied to your project.

3)      Coated, Uncoated and Matte Finishes


The texture of the media you are printing on can affect the way ink is absorbed, and subsequently, appears to the eye. By adding a suffix letter to PMS colors, you can determine how it will look on a certain media. Those letters are C (coated), U (uncoated) and M (matte).

WebbMason has helped simplify the process of maintaining brand and color consistency across all platforms with the introduction of MarketingBench 2.0, the marketing automation platform for digital and traditional channel management. You can learn more about how MarketingBench can help you produce more effective and more efficient results here.


WebbMason Wins Three Web Marketing Association Awards for Excellence in Web Design and Development

October 28, 2013

2013 WMA WebAward

By Enam Noor, Chief Strategy Officer, Managing Director West, WM Interactive Solutions Division

Contrary to the familiar, superstitious saying, good things – not just bad – can happen in threes. Today is one of those days. WebbMason won three WebAwards in the Web Marketing Association’s 17th annual WebAward Competition for web design and development. Our own corporate website won “Best in Show” and “Best Marketing Website” for its bold graphics, vivid color palette, intuitive navigation and seamless integration of front- and back-end systems. That is reason enough to celebrate. But even better, websites developed by WebbMason Interactive for clients Apartment Services, Inc. and Kissito Healthcare International each earned an award. Entries were judged on design, copy writing, innovation, content, interactivity, navigation and use of technology.

WebbMason client Apartment Services, Inc. (ASI), a residential multifamily housing property management business that owns and manages 40 apartment and townhome communities in Maryland and southern Pennsylvania, won for “Outstanding Achievement in Web Development” in the Real Estate category. The company has built a reputation over the past 40 years for building quality homes, delivering outstanding customer service, and offering exceptional value. Dennis Dietz, senior vice president with ASI, said that “The design and interactivity of the website WebbMason developed for us faithfully extended our brand identity online. Another important element is that the user experience is localized and personalized. We are very pleased with the end result.”

Kissito Healthcare International, a non-profit organization whose stated mission is “the betterment and care of human life,” was recognized for achieving “Non-Profit Standard of Excellence.” The objectives of the Kissito website redesign were to produce a website with clean design, easy navigation and, importantly, integration with social media channels Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and flickr, which Kissito uses to build awareness and solicit financial support. We are thrilled that the WebAward’s international panel felt we succeeded in meeting those objectives.

Adding to the feeling of gratification we on the WebbMason Interactive team got from this news is realizing that the odds of winning one, never mind three, are long: More than 1,500 entries from 40 countries were judged in 96 industry categories during this year’s competition.

Thanks and congratulations to ASI and Kissito who trusted us with what is their most public persona – their websites – and to the amazing WebbMason interactive team.


Introducing MarketingBench 2.0, the First Cross-Channel Marketing Automation Platform

September 30, 2013

Today marks a significant milestone in the continuing evolution of WebbMason: the launch of MarketingBench™ 2.0, a second-generation marketing automation solution for the creation, sourcing, deployment and measurement of integrated marketing programs. As with all of our new services and innovations – from formation of the WebbMason Preferred Partner to the introduction of interactive and social media services – MarketingBench was developed to meet defined customer needs.

In the case of MarketingBench 2.0, that need is filling a void in first-generation marketing automation products from providers such as IBM/Unica, Marketo, Oracle/Eloqua and Teradata/Aprimo: the ability to centrally manage print collateral, promotional products and exhibit support in addition to digital marketing.

Why is this important? Because integrating and managing physical marketing activities and assets with digital marketing is essential to true cross-channel marketing. Digital native competitors are optimized for technology companies that lead almost exclusively with email. Digital marketing is critical, of course, but the majority of other industries have a high proportion of physical marketing assets and activities in their marketing mix, and that is not going to change. MarketingBench 2.0 is truly multi-channel. By automating the integration of physical marketing programs and assets such as direct mail, brochures and point-of-purchase displays, with digital marketing, MarketingBench 2.0 provides complete, unified campaign visibility and control.

Another compelling benefit to WebbMason customers using MarketingBench 2.0 is the ability to seamlessly source all materials and services needed to implement a cross-channel campaign. Need signage, promotional items or a product catalog? We do that. Need a campaign-specific landing page or an entire website redesigned or developed? We do that. No other marketing automation provider does this. We don’t just help you plan. We help you do.

How are customers reacting?  Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company, a global workwear company, is a long-time WebbMason customer and an early adopter of MarketingBench 2.0. The company’s brands are available in more than 100 countries through corporate owned stores, specialty shops in retail partner locations, and ecommerce sites such as Amazon.com and Dickies.com. Matthew McCartin, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer, said that “MarketingBench 2.0 gives us the ability to rapidly customize, deploy, and manage cross-channel marketing campaigns for all distribution channels while maintaining a consistent brand image and controlling costs. WebbMason is a strategic partner and MarketingBench is a game-changer.”

To learn what MarketingBench 2.0 can do for your business, contact us at 410-785 1111, marketingbench2@webbmason.com, or by completing this contact form.


Franchises Using Integrated Marketing Achieve Higher ROI

February 13, 2013

by Doug Traxler

Integrated marketing is complex—but so is running a franchise. Combining the two? Sounds like a potential nightmare. However, iWebbMason Integrated Marketingntegrated marketing can play an essential role in every business, as companies that implement and execute integrated marketing have been shown to achieve a 50% higher ROI. (Source: Gartner)

Last year, a popular franchise reached out to WebbMason for marketing assistance. After some research, WebbMason suggested an integrated marketing approach that blended both print and non-print marketing methods, including  (in simplest terms) personalized QR codes on all direct mail pieces, personalized landing pages, automated reminders and follow-up notices, customized registration and opt-in for newsletters, social media pages, an analytics dashboard and email marketing. This approach enabled the franchise to organize and quickly respond to leads, while also increasing attendance in the organization’s long-term programs.

The results were a dream come true for both the franchise and WebbMason, as the campaign generated a 39.2% conversion rate, 65% higher than the year before, along with a 28% spike in the franchise’s Facebook fans. The good news does not stop there. This November, WebbMason won an award for this campaign during the EventTech conference in New York City.

From New York to Las Vegas, WebbMason’s interactive services are appearing all over the US. On February 18-19, they will be showcased at the IFA Conference at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. On display at booth #271, WebbMason will present popular tools for many franchise owners, including the new user interface capabilities for its MarketingBench™ distributed marketing management platform.

According to Jeff Elgin’s article, “5 Franchise Marketing Essentials,” on entrepreneur.com, a franchise marketing plan must: drive consumers, involve the franchisees, get the splits right (marketing funding dollars), be well-documented and validate well. To summarize, marketing must bring people through the door—whether it is from a direct mail piece, a landing page, a personalized coupon or a promotional product. Since they work closely with customers, the opinions from the franchisees must always be taken into account. Elgin, CEO of FranChoice, notes that a marketing plan “is no small matter, since your livelihood will rely on the success of the marketing program in driving customers to your business.”

Sure, integrated marketing is complex—but it doesn’t have to be frightening. By integrating print, web, digital, social and other applications, your franchise can create powerful campaigns while reaching, engaging and growing customer relationships and achieving a ROI. From website strategies to email marketing, you can deliver timely, relevant, and compelling integrated marketing programs that resonate with customers across any channel they touch. All of your campaigns and programs will point in the same direction and will work in harmony to reach your goals. An effective interactive plan designed specifically for your franchise can not only meet your needs… it could be a great way to build support for your franchisees as well.


PSDA Rankings Affirm WebbMason’s Continuing Market Leadership

October 1, 2012

WebbMason once again topped the charts of Print Solutions magazine annual rankings in several categories based on 2011 revenue. The magazine is published by the Print Services and Distribution Association (PSDA), an industry group whose members comprise a broad network of supply chain partners representing nearly 1,000 companies with combined annual revenue of more than $5 billion in combined annual sales.

Among PSDA nearly 1,000 members nationwide, WebbMason is:

  • The #1 Seller of Commercial Printing
  • The #2 Distributor across all categories with $92.5M in sales
  • The #2 Seller of Labels and Tags
  • The #3 Seller of Promotional Products
  • The #3 Seller of Paper-Based Forms

While we’re thrilled to be among the best of the best, what’s truly important are the reasons that underlie WebbMason’s success: customer-centricity, innovation, and value.

The Marketing Innovation Center™ @ WebbMason is a perfect example of market leadership and the company’s investment in people, processes and technology to bring to market top-quality products and services that are surpassed only by the value they deliver.

The Marketing Innovation Center™ @ WebbMason

As an integrated marketing solutions and services company, WebbMason understands that today’s marketing channels have their own set of rules. Each one demands special technology and expertise. Those discrepancies make it harder for marketers to develop solutions across disciplines. The Marketing Innovation Center @ WebbMason defies this trend. It breaks down barriers between marketing silos to facilitate understanding and synchronicity across them. The employees who workin the Marketing Innovation Center @ WebbMason drive our integrated marketing and web strategies effort, as we continually aim to become an extension of our clients’ marketing teams. The business cards found in this space say “WebbMason,” but these employees really wear the same color jerseys as our clients.

Another proof point of our innovation is MarketingBench™, WebbMason’s on-demand digital marketing management system, allows sales and marketing teams, local and remote employees, channel partners, franchisees and business partners to have fast and easy access to an entire brand library – or only appropriate portions. MarketingBench streamlines the acquisition, customization, and delivery of promo, print, and other materials and is used by 1.5 million users at more than 800 companies to streamline ordering, centralize procurement, track marketing and print materials in real time, and create documents online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Perhaps the most important number of all is 315. That’s the number of dedicated WebbMason employees working in offices across the country. At the end of the day, it’s their expertise and commitment that WebbMason a success by ensuring that our clients are successful. Yay Team, WebbMason!

 

###


Shiny and New vs. Tried and True

August 8, 2012

I’m getting married!!! 

And I have never been on the receiving end of more highly-targeted marketing messages in my life.  I don’t mean the everyday advertisements and come-ons that we’ve all learned to tune out; I’m talking about the banner ads and emails that are directed at me – a newly-engaged 29-year-old female – at a time when I am very vulnerable, with all of the excitement and emotion that comes with wedding planning.  It seemed that from the moment I changed my Facebook profile from “Single” to “Engaged,” I had more enticements and inclinations to click, respond, and sign-up than I ever thought possible.

One particular company stands out above the rest.  I was no match for their marketing genius.  They hit me early and often with appealing ads and an exciting value proposition.  When it came time to choose the department store where my fiancé and I would create our registry, the decision had already been made.  With a few key strokes, I opened a wedding registry, and when that was done, I was informed that if I applied for a store credit card, I could receive rewards points on not only my purchases, but on gifts that others purchased for my fiancé and me.  Talk about a match made in heaven – I was almost eager to open a charge account – something I NEVER do.  I was still dreaming of fancy gadgets and elegant linens as I started to update my weddingwire.com page with my registry info when I spotted a posting for an event happening at a store about 30 miles away.  At the event, my fiancé and I could learn about the items we should consider adding to our registry, mingle with other newly engaged couples, and enjoy a glass of champagne.  Determined to take advantage of every opportunity to be pampered as bride-to-be, I decided to delay making any selections until the event.  I emailed the event coordinator as instructed to sign up for the event, even though it was two months in the future.

And this is where my story takes a turn.  I never received a response to my email or confirmation of my registration.  Admitting to myself that I was probably being over-eager, I decided to be patient.  A month went by… crickets.  Finally, I picked up the phone and left a voice mail for the event coordinator.  Two more weeks went by.  At last, I received a voice mail in return stating that the event had been cancelled.  “Well,” I thought, “People probably didn’t think it was happening because you never got back to them!”  As disappointed as I was, I consoled myself, understanding that these things happen.

I rebounded quickly, and my fiancé agreed to accompany me to a shopping mall nearby to begin the joyful task.  Sure, I could have gone browsing on the store’s online website and spared him the trip, but there is something about perusing the aisles together and inspecting the merchandise that you can’t get from a URL.  Hand in hand, we marched to the wedding and gift registry counter, full of hope.  When there was no one there, we waited a few minutes.  When no one came, we wandered over to another section of the store and inquired whether someone could help us with our registry.  With some difficulty, an associate was finally produced who fumbled through the process of finding the registry I created online (as if I had done something wrong) and handed over the scan gun.  We were also told that normally, we would receive a tote bag as a gift, but that the person responsible for the department was no longer employed with the company and no one knew how to order more totes.  Gee… thanks.  After that, my heart was really not in it.  Even the shiny KitchenAid stand mixer had lost its appeal because this company had let me down… twice.  Whether it was due to lack of training, inability to retain employees with competitive pay, or just a corporate culture of apathy, my expectations were shattered.  Eventually, I put my unused store credit card in my wallet and opened another registry at the department store I grew up with.  They had the same brands, comparable prices and selection, but the middle-aged man who helped me actually made me feel good about it, telling me about some of the lasting gifts he and his wife had received 18 years prior.

I’ve seen this happen in my industry.  Giant Printing Company has lots of marketing dollars to draw customers in with strategic messages, promises of huge cost savings, and exciting technology.  They may even throw a parade.  But when it comes right down to it – no matter how fine-tuned their marketing mix – what matters is good old-fashioned customer service.  The ability to meet and exceed expectations – to make a commitment and see it through – is the key to success in any industry. Delivering extreme customer service requires a human touch and it is rewarded with extremely loyal customers.  In my experience, even those that fall for “shiny and new” eventually come to appreciate the value of “tried and true.”  And they live happily ever after…


%d bloggers like this: