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!

 

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How Starbucks Finally Won at Viral Marketing

August 12, 2011

Viral marketing campaigns are the holy grail of internet advertising. A campaign that takes off on its own, spreading organically from consumer to consumer, with little to no effort from its creator. After a history of notoriously clumsy attempts, Starbucks may have finally knocked one out of the park.

Earlier this week, news sites started promoting an already popular story: Mobile App Consultant Jonathan Stark released an image of his Starbucks digital payment card on his blog. The idea was that anyone that wanted coffee could use his card, free of charge, and that good Samaritans could make donations to refill it, should it go empty. The stunt was described as a “social experiment,” and was intended to show that there was still good in humanity, despite outward appearances.

Early cynics called Stark out, already smelling the tell-tale signs of forced viral marketing. Stark denied any connection with Starbucks coffee, and the public happily ran wild with the story. Now, one determined blogger has unearthed the ugly and more realistic truth. It seems that Mr. Stark’s employer lists (or rather, listed, since it has recently been removed) Starbucks as a client company. Is it coincidental? Perhaps, but most feel that the curtain has been thrown back, and Starbucks has been caught red-handed.

Whether or not Jonathon Stark is actually involved, the campaign has been a huge success. The card built up a balance of $3,651 from the starting balance of $30 (As of this posting, the card account has been emptied). A popular Twitter feed was set up to monitor the crowd-sourced card’s balance, and plenty of people enjoyed free Starbucks coffee. What happens now, remains to be seen, but few can doubt that Starbucks is laughing all the way to the bank.

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Founded in 1989, WebbMason is one of the fastest-growing print and brand management service companies in the United States, helping marketing departments and their internal and external partners save money and streamline processes through a winning combination of industry expertise, exceptional print supply chain partners and technological innovation. Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, WebbMason has 20 sales offices throughout the United States.


Are Your QR Codes All Bark and No Bite?

August 5, 2011

Over the past year, the marketing industry has fallen head-over-heels for QR codes. We have done a piece or two about them in the past, but it is time to take a more critical look at this newest campaign must-have.Time Magazine Cover, From Mashable.com

Many marketers seem to throw QR on everything, without logic or reason, resulting in too many companies including the codes in marketing materials in which they are completely unnecessary or out of place. This Mashable article details five examples of truly baffling logic, where it is obvious that the QR code is included just because it can be.

It is true that, when handled well, a QR code can become a convenient call to action that bridges web and print campaigns. However, marketers need to start taking the time to question if the included code is adding any value to the campaign. There is little available real estate on a piece of print marketing, and an unsightly black-and-white square can easily detract from an otherwise successful campaign without providing any value in return.

Marketers need to ask 5 big questions when considering QR codes in any campaign:

  1. Does this code add anything to my campaign that simple text or a URL cannot achieve?
  2. Will this code be located in a place/way that will make it easy and inviting for consumers to use?
  3. Is the code linking to something that provides a reward to the consumer? Will they appreciate the time they spent visiting the linked content?
  4. Are the targeted consumers likely to have smart phones, and Wi-Fi or 3G access, when they see the code?
  5. How much of my campaign am I willing to hide from those consumers that do not have a smart phone?

At the most basic level, marketers should be asking, “Is this code a waste of time for me, my target audience, or the brand I am promoting?”

Some marketers are probably only including QR codes on their campaigns so that they can add another bullet point to their portfolios, and that may be fine for the lowest denominator. Those that really want to be putting together truly memorable and successful campaigns, though, will take the time to question the value of the marketing industry’s new toy.

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Founded in 1989, WebbMason is one of the fastest-growing print and brand management service companies in the United States, helping marketing departments and their internal and external partners save money and streamline processes through a winning combination of industry expertise, exceptional print supply chain partners and technological innovation. Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, WebbMason has 20 sales offices throughout the United States.


Internet Tracking (Again): What’s the Big Deal?

July 29, 2011

When we last wrote about Internet Tracking about 5 weeks ago, we figured it would be our last word on the subject. Legislation was being passed to require online data-farmers to provide clear “opt-out” options, consumer awareness was growing, and things seemed to be improving.

Since then, absolutely nothing has changed. Actually, that isn’t really true, they have gotten worse.

News sites continue to write sensationalist stories suggesting that internet marketers are waiting like ravenous dogs for every scrap of information you leave online. Buzz words like “Threat,” “Invasive,” and “No Privacy,” crop up over and over again. People are desperate to find any way they can to surf the internet anonymously, leaving behind no trace of their habits. We think it is time to be a little more realistic.

1. What is Internet Tracking Really Doing to Harm You?

When you click onto a site – any site – you leave behind a cookie, which is simply a piece of data equivalent to scratching your name on the wall of a building. Companies that make money off of data like this are only interested in one thing: what do you click on, and why? Trackers want to follow you from one site to the next, trying to find a pattern in your browsing. That information helps them build and sell models for better online advertising; essentially they want to find a way to make their clients’ products more interesting to you.

In general, people using cookies aren’t hunting for your specific home address, phone number or daughter’s Facebook profile. They just want to know where you are shopping, and what got you there. Have you ever taken a survey where you told a store or website how you found out about them? It’s quite literally the exact same information. True, these companies are not asking for your permission, so you could argue that this is an invasion of privacy, but surely there is some exaggeration going on. If a marketer were sitting outside of a public mall, making note of which stores people went into, would you file a lawsuit against them?

2. By Going Online, You May Soon Waive the Freedom to Privacy.

On July 28th, the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation requiring all Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) to track and store data of every single thing you do online for at least one year. Any word you type, link you click, image or video that passes over your monitor will be tracked, saved, and analyzed by your ISP. Honestly, the vote wasn’t even close, with 19 out of 29 representatives in favor of the bill. In truth though, even without this bill, ISP’s still monitor data usage and addresses frequently visited by users.

Internet trackers and internet users are both trying to accomplish the same thing. Trackers want to make advertising that is less irritation and more inviting, and users want to easily find things they are interested in and want to buy. We can’t see a loser anywhere in this equation.

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Founded in 1989, WebbMason is one of the fastest-growing print and brand management service companies in the United States, helping marketing departments and their internal and external partners save money and streamline processes through a winning combination of industry expertise, exceptional print supply chain partners and technological innovation. Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, WebbMason has 20 sales offices throughout the United States.


Are We In a Direct Mail Renaissance?

July 22, 2011

With all of the attention paid to social media, mobile technology, and advancing tech integration, it is easy to forget the power and success of a simple direct mail campaign. That isn’t to say that print numbers have dropped – they have been rising slightly thanks to efforts by the USPS to simplify and internalize the process – but they have become something of an invisible entity.

For many marketers, direct mail is simply another step to be ticked off on their strategy checklist. Consumers, meanwhile, are still skilled in the art of blindly tossing out those half-hearted attempts at mail advertising. Now, a few enterprising companies are making an effort to return to the kind of eye-catching direct mail pieces that can turn a faltering campaign around.

This blog, describing the Birthday-like joy of an unexpected package from Hendrick’s Gin, is a testament to the power of tactile response. For many consumers, physical objects contain a level of sentimentalism that no electronic mailing list can ever reach. Something as cheap and easy to produce as a notepad can endear a customer to your company for life. Most of us hate junk mail, but everyone likes presents.

But, what about younger generations?

It is easy to dismiss the youth of our culture as tech-obsessed kids who will scarcely recognize a stamp in ten years, but that is perhaps an unfair judgment. A new online service, Snail Mail My Email, has been widely popular with everyone from teens to boomers. In fact, the free, volunteer-run service has had to stop taking orders due to a massive response. Snail Mail will take any email, and handwrite it on nice stationary, before putting it in a custom envelope and dropping it in the mail box. Of course, there is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek sense of antiquity to the whole thing, but still, the service shows that paper letters will never go out of style.

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Founded in 1989, WebbMason is one of the fastest-growing print and brand management service companies in the United States, helping marketing departments and their internal and external partners save money and streamline processes through a winning combination of industry expertise, exceptional print supply chain partners and technological innovation. Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, WebbMason has 20 sales offices throughout the United States.


MarketingBench™ Webinar Recap

July 15, 2011

Over the past few weeks, we have been pointing out some of the problems unique to marketing in the franchise industry. Some of the worst of these are:

  • Little to no control over corporate brand
  • No central database for franchisees to access marketing collateral as a ‘self service’ tool
  • Level of knowledge on the franchisee side of how to execute a integrated direct mail campaign
  • Tracking capabilities and ROI measurement to the franchisee level
  • Marketing vs. Customer Service – little time to market
  • Consistency & Repeatability vs. Localization & Customization
  • Marketing comes in many shapes & forms

These problems are all compounded by the fact that any marketing for a franchise is divided into three conflicting groups of problems.

Three Factors of Franchise Marketing

So how do you resolve this conflict?

WebbMason MarketingBench™

Marketing technology is designed to meet a specific set of needs. This technology automates and organizes the system, offers opportunity for self service, allows for collection of information, allows marketing process to be done online, allows for control of access, speeds time to market of your message, and allows for targeted communication and better execution. WebbMason’s MarketingBench™ is a proprietary single-source marketing platform to manage all aspects of your marketing strategy online. It adapts to any sales channel model, and gives you more control over your inventory and brand.

WebbMason MarketingBench™

For more information on MarketingBench™, click here.

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Founded in 1989, WebbMason is one of the fastest-growing print and brand management service companies in the United States, helping marketing departments and their internal and external partners save money and streamline processes through a winning combination of industry expertise, exceptional print supply chain partners and technological innovation. Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, WebbMason has 20 sales offices throughout the United States.


Franchise Marketing Wrap-Up

July 8, 2011

WebbMason will be hosting a FREE Webinar on Franchise Marketing Automation on July 12th. To register, click here.

Leading up to our Franchise Marketing Webinar on Tuesday, we’ve been writing about some of the most basic concepts in the field. This entry will summarize that knowledge, and provide a good primer before the official webinar.

We began by describing some of the perks and benefits that franchisees can take advantage of when launching a new store in a corporate chain. The large corporate advertising budgets and existing brand awareness can be blessings for a store in a new area, even if that structure can limit a store’s individuality.

The following week, we explained how you can take advantage of social media, the new word of mouth, to build a local following. Sites like Facebook, Foursquare, and SCVNGR can establish corporate chains, individual stores, and brand new franchises. We also described how the concept of word-of-mouth-marketing has transitioned into these new tech platforms, and how the prevalence of smartphones can impact sales. We ended the week by pointing out the fact that extracting an individual store from the chain may not be the best move.

Maintaining a conceptual image of the industry as a whole is crucial for any business. We helped build that image last week, with a retrospective on the Top 500 Franchise Restaurants. These can be beneficial examples of what works – and what doesn’t work – in the restaurant industry.

Finally, we suggested that trendy marketing strategies like social media, QR codes, and mobile blasts can be very effective in the right hands, but aren’t the best choice for every business. We also addressed the controversy surrounding Groupon and other similar coupon sites. It is up to each owner to decide whether or not risky coupon ventures are worthwhile, but the payoffs can be big under perfect circumstances.

Our free webinar on franchise marketing automation takes place on Tuesday, July 12th. There is still time to register, and with nothing to lose, there is no reason to miss it. Click here to register, and join us on Tuesday for more information!

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Founded in 1989, WebbMason is one of the fastest-growing print and brand management service companies in the United States, helping marketing departments and their internal and external partners save money and streamline processes through a winning combination of industry expertise, exceptional print supply chain partners and technological innovation. Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, WebbMason has 20 sales offices throughout the United States.


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