Gimbel & Associates Blog

Why is Data Still a Four-Letter Word?

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Oct 2, 2018 11:19:34 AM

Highly personalized and customized print communications that drive customer engagement have won awards and been featured in highly acclaimed case studies for decades.  Marketers have experienced response and conversion lift when they leverage variable data. This phenomenon has been documented many times.

Why are so few of these campaigns executed? Most direct marketing programs do not leverage the demonstrated power of data. What is it about variable data that keeps marketers from using readily available technology to their advantage?

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Topics: variable data printing, creative, agencies, print buyers, Deborah Corn, Print Media Center

How to Run Effective Customer Events

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Aug 27, 2018 2:13:35 PM

Successful customer events and open houses don’t happen by accident. To realize tangible results you will need alignment throughout your organization on event goals, event strategies, and project planning responsibilities. You’ll also need a cross-functional team to execute the plan. Everyone (yes every person in your facility) will need to know what you are planning, and your reasons for hosting a customer event. Each employee will have a role before, during, or after the function.

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Topics: open house, events, customer events, demonstration, tour, digital print, cross media, wide format

Want to Really Engage Your Customers? Host an Event!

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Aug 8, 2018 12:42:47 PM

Customer events and open houses are fantastic opportunities for print service providers to demonstrate new capabilities and engage customers. No other promotional or marketing effort can match the impact of interacting with customers in-person at your facility. You’ll have the full attention of attendees and ample opportunities to show them the benefits of working with your firm.

These carefully planned events also allow you to change notions people have about your company and give you a chance to show off the investments you’ve made to handle your customers print and digital communication demands. If changing customer relationships is part of your business plan, an open house or similar affair is an ideal way to launch the effort.

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Topics: marketing, events, open house, customer events

A View from the Other Side of the Desk

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Jun 18, 2018 3:48:56 PM

A Print Buyer Perspective on Typical Sales Calls

How would you like to learn how your sales force is doing – directly from prospective customers? Wouldn’t you like to find out what is going through buyers minds as they sit through the presentations tendered by your sales force?

We all know the print marketplace is changing, so print sales people must adapt. How is that working out? Are your salespeople giving customers what they need to encourage them to do business with you? Are you failing to sign business you ought to get?

In a new eBook from Gimbel & Associates, printing companies get a rare look into the minds of customers. We asked print buyers to tell us how they perceived the print service representatives that called on them. We wanted to find out what salespeople are doing right and where they need to improve.

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Topics: consultative selling

Operations Overhaul – An Inkjet Journey

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on May 2, 2018 10:29:15 AM

We recently assisted one of our customers with a major business evolution to inkjet. The company migrated from a cut sheet toner printing environment to continuous roll-fed inkjet platform. It’s a journey becoming common as clients demand the flexibility inkjet provides and printing companies scramble to respond.

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Topics: Workflow, inkjet technology, migration, roll-fed, digital transformation

How to Switch to Solution Selling

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Mar 5, 2018 9:00:00 AM

As your organization transitions from selling products and print jobs to selling solutions, your sales techniques must evolve. The ultimate value of a print solution is not the printed product. It is the actionable results that come from the print. These results help your clients grow and achieve their specific business goals.
 
This post is all about making those sales process changes. If you follow these guidelines, your sales performance will improve.
 
It Starts Before the First Sales Call
 
Before you begin calling on prospects, answer these questions:
 
Why do customers buy from your organization?
  • What can you do that others cannot? What case studies or testimonials can you use?
  • What skills or business practices differentiate you from competitors?
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Topics: sales, solution selling

The Gimbel & Associates Going Forward Guide: Marketing and Data

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Mar 2, 2018 9:00:00 AM

A typical print production organization encompasses several internal entities that are often distinct and isolated from one another. Among others, your company’s departments may include groups dedicated to marketing, creative, production, and data. In the past, disassociation among these groups was manageable. Some departments even found it acceptable to maintain mild adversarial relationships; they just didn’t see things the same way, but arms-length interactions didn’t influence the ability to do business.
 
Things have changed. Today’s most successful enterprises are reaping the benefits of bringing their internal groups together. They are creating a competitive advantage by speeding time to market and delivering high quality products in an environment where print service providers are forging deeper relationships with their clients. In this article we will concentrate on the ties between marketing and data.
 
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Topics: marketing, cross-functonal

New Rates and What’s Next for the USPS

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Mar 1, 2018 11:27:49 AM

Mailers are accustomed to postage rate increases in January, and the updates for 2018 followed a familiar pattern. Besides the rate increases, the US Postal Service is updating elements of the postal system. Industry analysts expect more developments soon. Mailers need to stay informed as the mailing business becomes increasingly driven by technology and data. Neglecting to keep up on postal developments can result in missed opportunities and unnecessary costs.

US law mandates the US Postal Service keep rate increases in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for market-dominant products like First Class letters and Marketing Mail. The law allows more pricing flexibility for parcel shipping services where the USPS competes with private carriers.

The CPI price cap keeps rate increases within a definable range, but that doesn’t mean the USPS assigns identical percentage increases across the board. Rate changes for individual classes and presort levels will vary with this latest price adjustment.

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Topics: USPS, "Caps", Merlin, Mailer Scorecard, direct mail, "Informed Visibility", 2018 postal rates

The Gimbel & Associates Going Forward Guide: Creative and Production

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Feb 28, 2018 11:42:00 AM

Departments in most companies often do their jobs independently. Marketing, creative, production and data groups exist in their own environments and are somewhat isolated from each other. Though this model has worked for a long time, things have changed in many verticals.
 
As print service providers migrate towards increasingly consultative relationships with their customers, coordination and cooperation among internal departments and external partners is becoming more important. Printers can distinguish themselves from the competition by delivering integrated solutions that produce measurable results. Customer situations are fluid and several departments and third-party partners must respond quickly to changing customer requirements. In this article we will concentrate on the relationship between creative and production teams.
 
 
Creative teams and production departments must collaborate to work out specifications and confirm they can produce the desired designs and formats within the allowed budget and turnaround timeframe. For complex projects the creative team may be at an agency or part of the end-customer’s organization and they must collaborate with a print service provider to execute a project or program. Without effective collaboration, the production team will waste time and money on changing designs and graphics, or suffer the impact of high production costs or unacceptable quality or turnaround times.
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Topics: print service providers, leadership skills, communications skills, digital print, cross-functonal

Making More Money with Direct Mail

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Oct 10, 2017 1:57:00 PM

In April, 2017 the US Postal Service rolled out a new way for marketers to communicate with their audience. More than five million households subscribe to the free Informed Delivery service and the numbers are growing. With Informed Delivery, consumers receive daily emails containing scanned images of letter-size mail they will receive in their physical mailboxes later in the day.

Campaign effectiveness improves when marketers connect physical and digital channels. Informed Delivery is the easiest way yet to accomplish this feat. The program doubles consumer views of marketing material with no increase in cost or extra preparation. We’re advising print service providers to update their clients about this opportunity to increase direct mail effectiveness.

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Topics: USPS, direct mail, print service providers, print campaigns

Are Your Conversational Habits Helping or Hurting?

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Sep 7, 2017 2:32:44 PM

True leaders create an environment and culture where people can speak, question, and contribute. They are the people who listen to peers, partners, and subordinates without judgement; even in difficult conversations including “bad news” or critical comments. Effective leaders want others to express their honest opinions and find solutions in dialogue that support larger goals.

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Topics: leadership skills, communications skills, conversational skills, workshops

Can Legacy Applications Jumpstart Your Inkjet Success?

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Jul 28, 2017 2:23:19 PM

Inkjet Platforms Bring a New Level of Customization, Impact, & Effectiveness 
 
High speed color inkjet can revolutionize a printing business, but printers won’t realize the most beneficial impacts of this technology by simply moving print from one platform to another. Profiting from inkjet requires effort in three separate areas of the workflow: data, print output, and finishing.
 
Though inkjet may bring new business to  a print service provider, most jobs processed on a new inkjet platform, at least in the beginning, are legacy applications. Printers developed these existing print jobs using then-current methods and technology. The legacy work is almost always a mixed bag of formats and processes. Print service providers will need to spend time on normalization and standardization as they prepare to introduce new inkjet platforms to their operations.
 
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Topics: inkjet technology, digital print, data analytics, variable data printing, paper

Getting to Yes

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Jun 23, 2017 10:29:21 AM

Impact Sales Performance
Printing companies used tried and true sales strategies in the 80’s and 90’s, but those techniques are yielding fewer results today. Print service providers need new strategies to stand above the competition and attract business that spurs growth. At Gimbel & Associates we’ve been teaching print industry salespeople how to react to the ever changing business environment in which they find themselves, with great success.
 
The process is evolutionary. Companies don’t change overnight, but we’re sharing helpful tips that can have an immediate impact on sales performance. These ideas will encourage customers to say “yes” more often.
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Topics: consultative selling, solution selling, challenger sale, sales, sales strategies, getting to yes

Direct Mail - Your Multi-Channel Gateway

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on May 25, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Cross-Channel Audience Recognition
Customers may limit inquiries with print service providers to quotes on print projects, but nearly all your customers are implementing multi-channel or omni-channel marketing strategies. A recent Winterberry Group survey showed 72% of organizations in the study were actively pursuing cross-channel audience recognition as a key business priority.
 
Multi-channel may seem threatening or intimidating to companies that create print for a living. If you don’t have the experience and resources to handle multi-channel campaigns, how will you support your customers?   One answer is something comfortable and familiar: direct mail.
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Topics: integrated marketing, multi-channel campaigns, digital print, direct mail