Category: Printing

The Shape of Things to Come

The 3.5in x 2in rectangle is tried and true, but it’s worth reconsidering if a different shape may better communicate your business – and make an even bigger impact.

La Charcuterie, a gourmet deli and restaurant in Vancouver, uses circular cards that resemble slices of salami. Brilliant!

La Charcuterie Business Cards

One drawback to the circular card concept, however, is holding it. It surely won’t get lost in a stack of traditional cards, but it also won’t fit in a traditional card holder or wallet. Depending on your business, this may or may not be a big problem, but there may be a solution. The cards below fold and tear, respectively, to help them travel a bit easier with their rectangular companions.

Round Business Cards

Other cards can take shapes of their own that still fit within the traditional dimensions using simple die-cuts.

Die-Cut Business Cards

(Clockwise: Michela Schirinzi, Counter Creatives, Mineral Spring Water, Pop Grub)


The Catalog Comeback

Though e-commerce makes up just a fraction of total retail sales, that fraction is steadily and rapidly increasing – online business is booming, we know this. But what you may not know is that printed catalogs are one of the most influential sources for information when making online purchases. Print catalogs are even more influential in driving online sales than some online channels.

Why print?

According to Sarah Knup, head of strategy and marketing at childrenswear brand Tea Collection, “We see the catalog as more relevant as a true storytelling and brand piece… You don’t get the same feeling when you’re flipping through a PDF.” Catalogs are making a comeback, with many retailers increasing their catalog spend. Even online-only retailers are beginning to mail catalogs of their own. The investment is a wise one – research by the US Postal Service shows that online shoppers who receive a catalog piece spend 28% more than those who don’t.

Just take a look at Zappos Life. Though Zappos is an online-based retailer, per-transaction sales from its catalog are twice that of the website.

Zappos Life

There’s Something About Print

There is something about having that large expanse of real estate in your lap, something about the format, that is extremely satisfying… Having many different things you may be interested in on a page, as opposed to a single thing surrounded by ads as it is on the web, leads to the formation of different connections and leads to a different experience.

Cool ToolsThat’s Kevin Kelly of Wired describing just some of the value of his recently printed book Cool Tools. The book was just published in December, but Cool Tools isn’t new – the website has been actively collecting curated reviews of tools for 10 years. Now, Kelly has taken 1,500 reviews from the website and created an over-sized 472-page book that retails for $39.99.

It sounds like a strange idea – and maybe it is – but it worked. The first printing sold out immediately. The reviews are glowing, and as one Amazon reviewer explained: “Yes, you’ve already read (or could read) much of the content on the site, but the book format (and the fact this is a hand-picked subset of the reviews from the blog) adds context and flow… It is a nicely realized, physical thing.”

Image via Joel Arbaje for Fast Company.

Curb the Clutter With Direct Mail

Given the avalanche of marketing messages we’re exposed to on a daily basis, it stands to reason that authentic, engaging messages are more likely to get a response. Most messages go virtually unnoticed, skimmed or purposely ignored – no one’s looking for the needle in the haystack. And why should they?

Marketing Clutter by Tom FishburneRather than expect your customer to notice you amidst the clutter, do something that stands out… easier said than done, I know. But believe it or not, some of the most engaging messages are the simplest.

If you haven’t seen, take a look:

Print is an effective and important tool you should never forget… While the digital marketing space has gotten noisier and considerably less effective, print has enjoyed a renaissance of increased conversion rates and marketing return on investment. Customers actually appreciate getting a nice postcard, well-designed catalog, or personal thank you note in the mail today.

According to the stats, US advertisers can see a 1300% ROI on direct mail, and direct mail is responsible for an incredible 78% of donations for non-profits. It makes sense if you consider that 80% of households read or browse their direct mail (yes, 80%!). And according to the USPS, shoppers who receive direct mail actually spend more than those who don’t.

Cartoon by Tom Fishburne.

Brochures: Power in Your Pocket

Brochures are possibly the most flexible and hard-working of your marketing collateral. They can help initiate a sale or close one; they can be sent in the mail or handed out face-to-face. As John Treace wrote for Inc., “One of the biggest sales I ever made was initiated in an elevator with a brochure that I happened to have in my pocket.”

To showcase a configurable furniture collection, Miller Brooks created this brochure for Kimball Office.

Kimball Office, Miller Brooks

This brochure for TVNZ 7 (Television New Zealand) literally unfolds to form the brand’s “7” logo.
TVNZ7 Brochure

Audi’s engaging centennial piece, when ripped open, features a timeline of the brand’s history.

Audi Brochure

To celebrate Pratt Institute’s 125th anniversary, this brochure includes die-cut pop-ups of iconic artists and their designs.

Pratt Institute

What’s a Trade Show Without the Giveaways?

A [trade show] booth without a giveaway could be viewed as heresy…

That’s a quote from trade show specialist Janice Breuer. Lest you be viewed as a heretic, define your strategy for promotional giveaways.

Google PensQualify
Giveaways will attract attendees to your booth… it’s then your job to determine if they are qualified leads. Eighty-one percent of attendees have buying authority, and you can probably imagine how many pens they’ve already accumulated. Increase memorability with a limited run of more expensive giveaways exclusively for more engaged, qualified visitors. Higher quality items can also be a great giveaway for existing customers – after all, they are special.

Ninety-two percent of attendees go to trade shows to discover new products. A great way to ensure your product is remembered post-show is to include a sample as a giveaway.

What’s the greatest giveaway you have in your arsenal? Or – better yet – what’s the most memorable giveaway item you’ve ever received?

Image via ePromos.