5 Ways to Make Your Print Materials Unlock Interactive Dialogue

April 12, 2013

by Doug Traxler

Good ol’ Dr. Seuss once said, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

Sure, it’s a cliché—but, come on, he’s right! Why hand someone a business card – or any other printed piece – with only your brand information on it when you can easily design it to open an interactive connection?  With QR codes, personalized URLs or generic URLs (PURLs & GURLs), it’s easy.

Here are 5 ways to turn print into interactive dialogue:Image

  1. Make your business cards do more work. Add a QR code to your business cards so you can drive prospects to your corporate blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile or website content. Or, use it to give away free information or drive prospects to a microsite where they can sign up for a special offer.
  2. Give your brochures greater longevity. Putting something in print makes it permanent. With that being said, many printed materials, unfortunately, have an expiration date. Adding a QR code can make these materials last longer, as you can update the sites connected to the code.
  3. Reach new generations with storefront or point of purchase materials. QR codes can attract a younger and more tech-savvy clientele, as nearly 30% QR code users are from 18 to 34 years old (PitneyBowes).
  4. Increase the credibility of your fliers, handouts and white papers. QR codes are fast and function. You can easily show customers common print materials – product reviews, customer testimonials, fact sheets and FAQs — in a matter of seconds.
  5. Turn envelopes into personal messages. Instead of sealing with a kiss, seal your envelopes with a QR code which drives them to a personalized thank you video or a discount offer. You could also connect the code to a microsite that explains what is in the envelope. This will make your message unforgettable.

Dr. Suess encourages you to stand out—and so do we! Read more about WebbMason’s approach on QR codes here: http://www.webbmason.com/marketing-solutions/#/reaching-the-next-level-integrated-marketings/cross-channel-marketing-campaigns/

If you want a copy of our white paper, “Turn Common Print Materials into Powerful Cross-Media Marketing Experiences,” send a request via email to Erin Winchester at ewinchester@webbmason.com


WebbMason’s Doug Traxler Named to Board of Directors for PSDA

April 8, 2013

Congratulations to Doug Traxler, chief development officer and executive vice president of sales and marketing, who has been named to the Board of Directors for the Print Services and Distributors Association (PSDA) for 2013!Image

With his appointment, Doug represents the tremendous work and dedication found in all WebbMason employees. Like WebbMason, the PSDA is dedicated to providing best-in-class print, marketing and business communications solutions for organizations of all sizes.

Traxler has been with WebbMason since he founded the company’s first regional office in Washington, DC, in 1995. Prior to joining WebbMason, Traxler spent 13 years with Wallace Computer Services, where he served as sales representative, account executive and general manager. Doug is honored to be named to the Board of Directors and will continue to exemplify the principles founded in our company.

For the official announcement, click here.


WebbMason Board Member David Rich Talks about Big Data in Forbes Magazine

February 25, 2013

Data has always been with us.  But today there seems to be more of it. That’s the bad news.  Now the good news: there are more and better ways to harness the data.  And there are good reasons to do so. For example, it can help companies spot business trends well before they happen. In Gil Press’ recent article in Forbes Magazine, he explores WebbMason Board Director David Rich’s idea of investing in big data, specifically in predictive analytics.Image

“When the 2008 recession hit […] the question was how come we weren’t better prepared with all the money we’ve spent in the last decade on information systems? That has caused a spur of activity that we’ve seen in the last several years, driven by the promise that now it’s technologically possible to have predictive analytics meet performance management at scale in real-time.”

By “performance management” Rich is referring to what it takes to manage the enterprise. He thinks that we are witnessing the emergence of a new management discipline, one that’s “much more about data-driven decision making.” He explains that now: “Management wants more data before making a decision or they want to collaborate with more people before making a decision, then the previous generation.”

The recession impacted all of America, but why didn’t we see it coming? Maybe we weren’t paying close enough attention to the data. With better access to complex information, business leaders could use technology to pre-determine what they need to do. Since the recession struck, businesses are taking advantage of the availability of preventive measures. Today’s predictive analysis technology provides industries with the tools to overcome impending obstacles.

It’s an important trend that David Rich is helping WebbMason pay more attention to in his role as advisor to the company.  Apparently, the writers at Forbes are paying attention, too.


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.


WebbMason blows away Chicago

November 16, 2012

Chicago, Illinois is not only famous for being Obama and Oprah’s hometown, but also for being the third largest city in the world (and also the windiest!) However, due to a recent connection from WebbMason and ChamberPlus+, Chicago has more to be famous for—in our office at least.

That’s because ChamberPlus+ and WebbMason have recently joined forces to give local Chicago businesses big business discounts. Both ChamberPlus+ and WebbMason ensure high levels of service for a very low cost. As Jerry Roper, president and CEO of Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, noted, “Products and services offered by our members, like WebbMason, help control bottom-line expenses while we all work on driving an increase in top-line revenue.”

Thanks to Frank Ignatius, account executive, WebbMason has been selected as a business service provider in the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce ChamberPlus+ program, and will service more than 1.3 million local employees in the association’s market area. Ignatius will oversee the ChamberPlus+ program from the WebbMason’s Naperville, Illinois, office. WebbMason joins other national companies in the ChamberPlus+ program, including Office Depot, Virgin America, and UPS.

As part of the program, WebbMason is offering other Chamber members a 15 percent discount (in addition to their lowest negotiated rates) on business cards, brochures, letterhead, signage, banners, direct mail, and all other printed items.

The Chamber has also invited WebbMason to advertise its member-exclusive print pricing as well as its other services to the ChamberPlus+ community via its website.  (That’s the WebbMason banner ad at the top of this post.)

If your business is in the Chicago area, try not to get blown away—and also don’t forget to join ChamberPlus+ so you can take advantage of the great programs the Chamber sponsors, including those being offered by  WebbMason.


United States Postal Service Gives Stamp of Approval to Integrated Marketing

November 12, 2012

Since Benjamin Franklin appointed the first Postmaster General in 1775, the United States Postal Service has grown to better serve a growing population through new technologies. In 1918, scheduled airmail service began to provide faster mailing across the entire country. In 1994, the Postal Service launched its public Internet site to create an online presence during the rise of Internet use. In 2013, the United States Postal Service will take its first steps towards integrated marketing. Image

Fiscal Year 2012 was challenging for the USPS and Fiscal Year 2013 will be just as difficult. The use of email and online services has provided more efficient communication. Today’s market needs require on-demand service, which is a setback to what has become known as “snail-mail”. But with every challenge there is a solution. Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahue emphasizes that, “Our industry is fundamentally strong and has a bright future. Mail remains an incredibly effective and important part of marketing America’s products and service.” The USPS’ focus remains on delivering mail. But in order to sustain a strong market presence, the industry must adapt with innovation.

On October 29, 2012 the USPS released its full calendar of promotions for 2013. The promotions offer discounts by integrating mail with mobile and innovative technologies.

The new offers indicate a clear drive to make print an integral component of a direct marketing mix by making it interactive. The Postal Service’s integration is a validation of the ongoing transition and value of integrated marketing. The marketing world is constantly evolving, forcing companies to adapt accordingly. The interactive approach is an adaptation to an increasingly sophisticated population. Allowing people to store coupons via mobile is a direct response to the rise of the mobile platform. Integrated marketing channels offer more positive results that not even a centuries-old direct mail provider could avoid.

The integrated marketing examples below from the Postal Service’s 2013 Promotional Calendar validate everything we do at WebbMason. Our customers are experiencing this integrated approach because we understand that the addition of new marketing channels serves up the right communication for the right audience. Today, the American audience thrives on mobile and interactive communication. The United States Postal Service was strictly involved with direct mail but people’s needs have changed. In order to regain their status, they had to realize print is not enough. Today is a digital age, but a print and technologic mix will provide the greatest results. WebbMason’s success has been dependent on our ability to recognize this need for integration. The Postal Service’s direction is validation of a solution near and dear to the heart of WebbMason. We have taken the right steps in moving toward an interactive and integrated marketing approach for our customers and ourselves.

Sample Offers from the Postal Service’s 2013 Promotional Calendar:

Mobile Coupon and Click-to-Call | Dates: March 1 – April 30

Discount: 2% of eligible postage

Mobile Coupon: The physical mailpiece must be a coupon using print-to-mobile technologies (such as QR codes) that allow the recipient to store the coupon on a mobile device. The discount must be offered only to mailpiece recipients, and the coupon must be redeemable as either a physical document or from a mobile device.

Click-to-Call:The physical mailpiece must use print-to-mobile technologies (such as QR codes) that links directly to a mobile optimized website with a “click-to-call” link or brings up a phone number automatically in the users’ phone.

Emerging Technology | Dates: August 1 – September 30

Discount: 2% of eligible postage

Augmented Reality: The mailpiece must support an augmented reality experience that is facilitated by a mobile device or computer. The augmented reality experience must combine real and virtual, be interactive in real time, and register in 3-D.

Authentication: The mailpiece must integrate the attributes of physical mail, including delivery to a physical address, with mobile technology that allows a user to complete authentication for customers, prospects, or mail recipients. Prior approval from the USPS program office is required for this option.


WebbMason’s Doug Traxler Creates the Complete Solution for Customers in Print + Promo Magazine

November 1, 2012

In Elise Hacking Carr’s Print + Promo article “Perfect Pair?” she states that just as Hall & Oates, Laverne & Shirley, and wine and cheese (although she did forget about Ben & Jerry…) make the perfect pair, so do print and promotional products. Sure, online marketing is on the rise and cannot be understated, but as WebbMason’s Doug Traxler says, online marketing functions most effectively while also using print and promo.

Print and promotional items can illuminate and stabilize a company’s brand. While using digital marketing is valuable, this type of marketing is not necessarily permanent. By incorporating print and promotional products in the marketing mix, a customer can feel, see, trust, and truly experience a company’s brand.

I recently discovered a report, done by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), which concluded that print and promotional items create the most positive attitudes toward an advertisement and a product. This study, “Promotional Products—The Key Ingredient to Integrated Marketing,” also says that print and promo are not only the most credible, but also create the highest intent of purchase. Print is the highest; promotional products come in a close second.

PPAI’s research is supported by the 2011 Estimate of Promotional Products Distributor Sales (sponsored by Promotional Products Association International). Sales figures reflect an increase of 7.02 percent in distributor revenues from 2010 to 2011. This means that the promotional product industry revenue is over $17.7 billion. Fun fact: the top three promotional products are wearables, writing instruments and bags.

With such high statistical evidence in favor of promotional products, it might be hard to think that print’s stats could come close. However, Bob Schwei, a 10-year print expert who works at iPROMOTEu in Mass., believes that print is a whopping six times larger than promotional products. Are we shocked? Absolutely not.

WebbMason’s Doug Traxler, executive vice president, sales and marketing, says that promotional products are a vital part of a company’s overall brand strategy. Companies are “recognizing that promotional products are a way to really differentiate their outreach or their brand-building efforts.” Doug Traxler founded WebbMason’s Washington, D.C. office in 1995, the company’s first regional sales office. Traxler admits that products like newspapers and magazines are “choking for air,” but he still believes that it is an exciting time to be in the graphics market by using outreach marketing, retail, direct mail and direct marketing.

Traxler makes a great point: print, promo, and digital marketing create the “complete solution for customers.” “With the computer revolution 20 years ago, everybody said that was going to kill paper and all it did was explode the use of paper. The Internet is the same. These transactions that are happening in digital form are creating paper touch points at various places along the conversation.”

Print and promo certainly do make a great pair; however, it might be worthwhile for a company to think of it more as a three-legged stool. Print, promo and digital work equally hard reinforcing and supporting a company’s brand. Maybe we have more of an Athos, Aramis and Porthos on our hands…


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