Gimbel & Associates Blog

The Gimbel & Associates Going Forward Guide: Creative and Production

Posted by Roger P. Gimbel, EDP 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, news

Making More Money with Direct Mail

Posted by Roger P. Gimbel, EDP 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 Roger P. Gimbel, EDP 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 Roger P. Gimbel, EDP 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 Roger P. Gimbel, EDP 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 Roger P. Gimbel, EDP 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

Are You Making Enough on Print?

Posted by Roger P. Gimbel, EDP on Apr 26, 2017 1:56:48 PM

Printers operating without a MIS system are flying blind

It is easy to tell if a print operation is making money by looking at profit and loss reports. Not so simple is finding the information management needs to make decisions such as determining how much work they can add before purchasing new equipment or when to hire more people. And recognizing the point to adjust pricing for individual jobs or accounts is nearly impossible without a system to capture job level data and generate cost analysis reports.

In many shops, job cost data from the production floor is randomly collected and rarely reviewed. Making the task even harder, many shops use separate, unconnected processes to handle estimates, order entry, job scheduling, postage deposits, time tracking, inventory, and billing. Employees manually copy information generated by one software system into another, leading to errors and omissions. Real time data is unavailable, rendering informed daily production adjustments impossible.

In environments where managers cannot compare job-level costs to budgets or estimates, changing conditions or inefficiencies can make it possible to unknowingly lose money on jobs–and do it repetitively.

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Topics: MIS,, Automation,, Workflow, XML, JDF

The Printer’s Role in Non-Profit Campaign Effectiveness

Posted by Roger P. Gimbel, EDP on Jan 12, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The Key to Success is in the Data

Helping non-profits reach their objectives for fundraising and retention requires print service providers to use a new approach; different from how they’ve interacted with customers for decades. Print vendors must dedicate more time to probing, analyzing, and testing than they might apply to traditional direct mail campaigns. A file of names and addresses imaged on pre-printed shells will not yield the desired results. The key to non-profit success is in the data.

 A non-profit organization’s data could be outdated or in disarray. Print service providers may have to help their non-profit clients assess, augment, and use the data necessary to make their fundraising campaigns successful. It is important to do this work before attempting to design compelling variable data campaigns.

Start with an analysis of the data that exists within the non-profit’s donor databases:

  • What information have they captured?
  • Did they record the information in a consistent manner?
  • Is information missing from some records?
  • Are there known duplicates?
  • Is the data centralized or is it spread across several departments or locations?
  • How old is the data?
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Topics: marketing, multi-channel campaigns, marketing strategy, data analytics, non-profit

Upgrade fundraising strategies with printed and electronic messaging

Posted by Roger P. Gimbel, EDP on Jan 5, 2017 1:04:51 PM

Printers have the expertise, non-profits have the need

Many non-profit organizations are stuck in the past when it comes to their fundraising efforts. Part of the challenge is a lack of resources. Non-profits rely on volunteers to handle administrative tasks. There may also be knowledge and experience gaps which may cost fundraising groups more than they realize. Partners such as print and mail service providers can be valuable sources of information and inspiration. Working with their partners, non-profit clients can upgrade their fundraising and communication strategies through printed and electronic messaging.

 “Tried and True” campaigns that have always produced satisfactory results are probably out-of-date today. Internet technology has affected everything – including the way non-profits inform donors about causes and persuade them to send money.  Good news for smaller non-profits, the internet has also leveled the playing field. Now any size organization has access to the tools and techniques necessary to upgrade their approach. Non-profits must modernize their methods to take advantage of current technology and connect to today’s contributors.

Data is king in the commercial business world and non-profits are no different. Sadly, most organizations do not have the data they need. Others are unsuccessful at applying their facts and figures. Effective use of data will improve messages to members, donors, volunteers, and sponsors. Stellar fundraising requires communicating the right information at the right time to the right people. Data makes that possible. And software tools drive effective customer engagement across multi-channel communications.

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Topics: digital print, marketing strategy, multichannel campaigns, integrated marketing, variable data printing

How to Create a Business Marketing Plan for Inkjet     Part 2

Posted by Roger P. Gimbel, EDP on Dec 7, 2016 3:26:31 PM

Marketing and Sales Must Work Together

Creating a Business Marketing Plan for Inkjet includes several steps. Success relies upon an honest evaluation of the print service provider and a detailed analysis of customers, competitors, and market trends. If inkjet is new to everyone in the organization, or an introspective examination of the current condition is difficult, then ask for opinions from outside observers and experts to help build the business plan.

In Part 1 of this post we described assessment, review, and goal-setting activities necessary to establish a baseline and the desired objectives for developing new business for an inkjet platform. Part 2 focuses on the marketing and sales strategies print service providers must consider to achieve the desired outcomes.

Marketing Strategy

Print service providers achieving the greatest return on their inkjet platform investments have approached marketing differently from their strategies for traditional offset or toner-based printing. Their focus is on using inkjet to help customers meet their marketing or customer communications objectives, rather than on the printed output itself. Creating awareness, interest, and demand for inkjet-enabled benefits is the job of the print provider’s marketing strategy.

Inkjet-specific marketing materials can point out how a service provider’s inkjet operation can:

  • Improve response rates for customer marketing materials by making documents more personalized

  • Use data to create relevant documents and images designed to improve customer experiences

  • Embed promotional, informational, or educational content in transactional documents

  • Reduce customer service calls by creating easily understood documents

  • Drive targeted messaging in other channels and integrate printed materials into multi-channel campaigns

  • Get documents produced sooner due to shortened proofing and preparation times

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Topics: marketing, sales, marketing strategy, sales process, marketing plan

How to Create a Business Marketing Plan for Inkjet           Part 1

Posted by Roger P. Gimbel, EDP on Nov 21, 2016 3:16:34 PM

4 Main Steps to Success

Creating a Business Marketing Plan for Inkjet includes several steps. Success relies upon an honest evaluation of the print service provider and a detailed analysis of customers, competitors, and market trends. If inkjet is new to everyone in the organization, or an introspective examination of the current condition is difficult, then ask for opinions from outside observers and experts to help build the business plan.

S.W.O.T.

The first step in creating an inkjet business marketing plan is assessing the current         state of the operation. We always start with an objective analysis of strengths and weaknesses. Then we identify new opportunities inkjet provides and get a handle on risks and threats to the company’s success as a provider of inkjet printing services.

Common strengths we measure include sales skills, vertical market expertise, and existing contracts. Identified weaknesses might be skilled labor shortages, buyer perceptions compared to competitors, or high overhead costs.

Inkjet presents so many opportunities print service providers may need to decide which areas they want to exploit first and which can wait until they have more experience. Examples include expansion into new vertical markets, soliciting larger or smaller clients than previously served, and developing new applications that leverage the speed, price, and flexibility of inkjet. Because inkjet is more about data than other printing technologies, offering digital services beyond print but using the same data sources may be ways to deepen customer relationships.

Threats are highly specific to individual organizations, geographies, and markets. They might include competitors also entering the inkjet world, contract terms, overall economic conditions, or mergers and acquisitions involving key accounts.

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Topics: marketing

Why You Need a Business Marketing Plan Before You Buy an Inkjet Press

Posted by Roger P. Gimbel, EDP on Nov 4, 2016 12:58:18 PM

Plan a Strategy for Migration, Integration and
New Business Bevelopment 

Early adopters of inkjet printing were often challenged to find enough pages to fill their newly acquired capacity. Lower production cost was an attractive aspect of inkjet, but those savings only materialized when there was enough volume to cover the overhead. Companies had to convert existing applications to the inkjet platform and convince customers inkjet was a reasonable alternative.

These inkjet pioneers weren’t bad business people, they just suffered through the issues that come with any breakthrough product or technique. A “Field of Dreams” situation forced printing companies to invest first and then unearth the work. Printers migrated inkjet jobs from traditional presses; either their own or from competitors. This was normal for many printing companies.

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Topics: marketing

Paper and Ink Developments Broaden Inkjet’s Appeal

Posted by Roger P. Gimbel, EDP on Sep 13, 2016 1:59:57 PM


Inkjet Advancements Exhibited at Drupa

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Topics: digital print, Publications, technology

Consultative Selling - Teaching Your Sales Team a New Approach

Posted by Roger P. Gimbel, EDP on May 18, 2016 12:13:01 PM

How To Turn Your Staff Into Consultative Sellers

In a previous post I pointed out the need to transition to consultative selling from traditional approaches used by most print service providers. This isn’t an easy task. Retraining a sales team to use a different set of skills is a hard thing to do. It doesn’t involve just the salespeople; it is an enterprise-wide effort. Top management must support consultative selling as part of their company culture to change the mindset from focusing on print jobs to enabling customers’ business goals. It’s about why they print, not what.

One of the most important concepts to ingrain in your salespeople is that relationships come first and selling comes second. Building relationships with customers includes developing trust and credibility. To earn that trust salespeople must take a true interest in understanding client needs, demonstrating empathy, and always maintaining integrity.

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Topics: sales, consultative selling, marketing, how to