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.

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View from the Inside: docBuilder Marketer Talks about Her First Product Rollout Experience

August 23, 2011

I consider myself a marketing professional. At WebbMason, I collaborate with a team of talented individuals to promote products/services and support a national sales team. I face the same challenges as any other marketing professional – maintaining the integrity of a brand, meeting budget goals, responding to the needs of very talented and slightly demanding sales people (I’m allowed to say that, I used to be one) – and the overall need to do more with less. There’s less time to be proactive, more pressure to improve ROI, fewer resources at my disposal, and higher expectations for greater results.

But I have to admit, I love it!

In early 2011, I accepted the role of Product Marketing Manager with WebbMason, after six years with the company. Since then my energy has been focused on launching the newest feature of WebbMason’s MarketingBench platform, a web-to-print application, later named “docBuilder”. In May, docBuilder entered its “beta” phase, which in essence meant that our development team felt that it was ready to be taken for a spin, and that I and a select group of customers were allowed to test-drive it. In terms of performance, it handled well, but we had to take a look under the hood from time to time and make adjustments. The feedback from the beta customers was extremely helpful in identifying areas for improvement and applications for use. By July we had an on-demand document printing technology that we could take to market.

It has been an incredible experience to champion a product, begin to see it take shape, have it be embraced by our sales team for its potential and eventually adopted by our customers for its value. Our first product rollout was to The College Board, an organization that helps to prepare and connect students to higher education. Fiona Yung, assistant director, stated, “From my first experience with docBuilder, I recognized its value. With the easy-to-use interface, I was able to build my documents… in a virtual environment.” What does she mean “build” a document, you ask?

I will spare you the sales pitch, but in a nutshell, docBuilder gives the marketing professional like myself the ability to create, print and distribute professional documents – sales proposals, account reviews, marketing collateral, the dreaded RFP (think the stuff you have to run to-and-from the expensive retail copy shop in the rain for) – on-the-fly, without ever leaving one’s desk. Best of all, it saves my colleagues and I lots of time and precious budget dollars. If you would like to learn more about how WebbMason docBuilder is giving organizations a head start with an all-in-one solution for controlling the cost and quality of their outsourced printing, visit http://wmdocbuilder.com/pr.

For a demonstration of its capabilities, check out the video below:

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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.


The Best-Case-Scenario for Social Media

August 19, 2011

A few humor blogs are passing around a story today about a hungry businessman who received a free porterhouse for taking the time to tweet a joke. In case you missed it, the short version is that businessman and Twitter icon, Peter Shankman, posted a tweet to Morton’s restaurant before getting on a flight that would delay his dinner. Shankman said he was starving, and asked Morton’s to meet him at the destination airport with a steak. For almost any other restaurant, that would be the end of the story, but Morton’s was different.

Looking for my driver, I saw my name, waved to him, and started walking to the door of EWR [Newark Airport], like I’d done hundreds of times before.

“Um, Mr. Shankman,” he said.

I turned around.

“There’s a surprise for you here.”

I turned to see that the driver was standing next to someone else, who I just assumed was another driver he was talking to. Then I noticed the “someone else” was in a tuxedo.

And he was carrying a Morton’s bag.

Someone at Morton’s had seen Shankman’s tweet, and sent a driver 24 miles to Newark Airport to deliver a porterhouse steak, colossal shrimp, potatoes, bread, and silverware.

A few minutes late, and the whole thing would have been a waste of time, but as it happened, Morton’s walked away with huge publicity…..for the cost of a single dinner.

This is the way that social media should work, but the reality is often very different. It was only a happy set of coincidences that led to the “miraculous” story above. Someone managing Morton’s social media happened to notice Shankman’s tweet, and a restaurant happened to be within driving distance of the airport. Unless you are willing to pay someone to monitor your incoming tweets 24-hours-a-day, your business will not likely see a similar event, and in any case, it is too late to be the viral sensation Morton’s was.

However, it isn’t too late to make sure that your social media efforts are designed for the purpose of listening to your customers, and responding to them. Social media is as much about responses as it is about marketing, and too many brands seem to forget that. Think simple: post a poll asking for your followers’ favorite menu items, and then put those on special the following week. Ask what coupons your customers want to see, and then deliver them. Showing your customers that you care about what they are saying will do wonders for your brand, and you don’t even need to drive thirty minutes to hand-deliver a porterhouse steak.

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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.


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.


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