Data enhancement and enrichment is the practice of adding details to data records, enabling marketers to fine-tune outbound marketing campaigns. Options include adding geocode coordinates for mapping, estimated income, gender, age, or home ownership to prospect records. Other enrichment opportunities include appending email addresses or phone numbers and filtering lists to remove unresponsive records. Identifying and eliminating duplicate contact records further improves data.
Transcend the Obvious
"Everyone understands that printers print and mailers mail. Show me something new and different that improves my response rate and makes me want to do business with you."
The marketplace knows what printers and mailers do. Yet most service providers' websites feature a long, lackluster list that includes business cards, envelopes, brochures, forms, binding, folding, and a hundred other products or services every printer offers. Use website real estate and the short attention span of most visitors to focus on customer acquisition. How can you escalate the success rate for your customer's printed materials en route to their prospect's mailbox?
The final installment of our three-part labor series focuses on employing automation as a competitive advantage.
In the first part of this series, we analyzed the aging, skilled labor market—the trend of older employees leaving the workforce and strategies for recruiting youthful as well as more mature workers. Next, we delved into how to hold on to staffers already on the payroll. In Part 3 of three, we analyze automation advancements as part of the solution to printing industry staffing shortages.
With the overall cost of doing business increasing and production volumes decreasing, how can print service providers (PSPs) maintain profit margins and still make money? The ability to print more jobs at faster rates becomes paramount. Automated technologies allow employees to perform critical pre-press, printing, and post-press operations without requiring years of experience as apprentices or junior assistants. For example, achieving precise colors on the press has become a case of science trumping subjectivity, according to Shawn Sundquist, president and CEO of Range Printing, Inc. (Brainerd, MN).
“In some respects, the skilled-labor shortage has forced the issue,” says Sundquist, a third-generation leader at the company his grandfather founded 55 years ago. “There is definitely an older demographic in our pressroom running the presses,” he notes, lamenting that the vast majority of younger workers don’t seem to care much about the intricacies of mechanical inner-workings.
“Young people are used to pressing the ‘easy button,’” Sundquist observes.
In the first part of this series we analyzed the aging, skilled labor market and the trend of older employees leaving the workforce, which can have a detrimental impact on industries, including the printing business, that depend on knowledge and expertise. “That kind of brain drain . . . could put a little more pressure on companies to figure out ways to hang on to older workers,” believes Michael Madowitz, director of macroeconomic policy at Equitable Growth.
We also suggested ways to recruit younger employees to the print sector. Enlist the help of outsiders, such as industry consultants, to work with state agencies and educational institutions. This strategy can be one smart move for printing companies trying to overcome a negative image of their industry in the minds of young people.
Part 1 of this article focuses on ways print service providers can attract a younger workforce by reinventing the medium’s ‘down and dirty,’ inky image. This is a 3 part series.
Hey Boomers and Gen X-ers, our workers are aging. U.S. manufacturers faced a major setback after losing some 1.5 million jobs at the onset of the global pandemic; since then, companies have been struggling to fill job vacancies. In Q1 2023, there were nearly 700,000 open manufacturing jobs, according to consulting firm Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute. The National Association of Manufacturers reports that over 2 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2030.
Print firms are feeling the pain. A good portion of experienced print industry employees are nearing retirement age. Last year, more than one-quarter of the U.S. workforce was 55 years of age or older, up from 14% twenty years earlier. In 2020, for the first time in the history of the United States, individuals 65 years of age and older outnumbered those five years of age and younger, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The U.S. print sector, which today employs over 386,500 Americans, shows negative growth (of -2.6%) again this year, reports research firm IBISWorld, and is down 1.4% overall since 2018.
print industry labor,
recruiting for the print industry,
flexible work hours
It should come as no surprise that video content is king, providing endless entertainment and learning through lively visuals and animations. But what about print? Should you just concede the attractive and absorbing aspects of video and animation to the digital channels and concentrate on selling flat printed images?
Don't leave any opportunity behind!
Motion graphics aren't appropriate for every project, but helping your clients dive into the realm of motion can be a differentiating factor for your printing business that helps retain current customers and attracts new ones. Motion graphics can transform flat sheets into mesmerizing 3D objects, capturing the reader's attention and even bridging the gap between the tangible and digital worlds for an unforgettable interactive experience.
Everyone in the printing business knows how direct mail has resurged as an important marketing channel. However, it's not appearing as it did in your grandfather's mailbox! There’s no “spray and pray” anymore.
“In 2022, we saw marketers starting to shift their digital marketing budgets to direct mail solutions,” Meg Ugenti reported last month in Forbes. “This trend will hold steady as the digital marketing landscape continues to be more crowded and less predictable than traditional offline marketing channels.”
In a recent article from Practical Ecommerce, Eric Bandholz explained how Apple’s iOS 14 privacy change has upended advertising on Facebook. “Merchants accustomed to stellar ROI must now accept modest or less-than-modest performance, he reported, citing the intriguing case of Pig of the Month. The Ohio-based direct-to-consumer seller of barbeque quotes company founder Lea Richards: “With post-iOS 14 ads not working, we’re getting back into direct mail. We’ve found good results, up to six-times return.”
In today’s competitive printing industry, customer retention usually comes down to a great customer experience. High quality printing is simply the standard now, not a differentiator, and competing on price is a race to the bottom. Great customer service can be the competitive difference that makes clients want to do business with you and keeps your bottom line growing.
But the definition of great customer service has evolved. Today, the meaning includes a certain degree of self service and 24/7 access—the conveniences that can be found via online portals. Easy to navigate portals with anytime and anywhere access, quick responses, project tracking, proofing, invoicing, inventory tracking, and other services can make your brand stand out with their terrific benefits.
storage of assets
color and key data points,
printing and graphics,
“I don’t have to sell. My customers come to me.” That is what a customer told me once. If you have that situation all the power to you, but you are probably leaving a lot of business for others to grab. Learn how your existing customers choose you and then delve into how can you leverage that knowledge to grow your business.
Customer acquisition is probably one of the most important business processes that a company can have. As part of an ongoing program of both sales development and customer satisfaction (shouldn’t they be one in the same) you can build a dynamic model for analyzing customer acquisition experience and use that to develop strategies for new customer growth and customer retention.
A growing number of print service providers have added design to their service offerings. If you haven’t ventured there yet, consider the many advantages to bringing design in house. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as placing a help wanted ad. Design is a broad area and graphic designers come in many flavors and with many specialties.
The designer you choose to hire must be the right fit for the work your company produces and match your organizational culture. An understanding of the print process and its intricacies is, of course, mandatory.
This article is a reprint, courtesy of the Print & Graphic Communications Association. Gimbel & Associates is intrigued and gratified to learn of the charitable work of former NY Yankee great, Mariano Rivera, who has established a program to educate students about exploring careers in printing and graphics. For more information on the Foundation or to attend the Franklin Event, click on the link at the end of this article.
printing and graphics,
Mariano Rivera Foundation,
print industry recruitment
Most of us are bombarded daily with thousands of marketing messages. Our phones, computers, televisions, social media channels, radios, and emails continuously clamor for our attention with promotional hits.
A marketer trying to cut through the noise faces almost impossible odds. The good news is that one of the most effective tools for bolstering engagement and response is individualized marketing through variable data printing. The most effective marketing is for an audience of one and leading-edge marketers increasingly use variable data printing (VDP) to ensure their client’s messages are heard.
For printers, this represents a big and profitable opportunity. Our eBook from Gimbel and Associates, A Printer’s Perspective & Guide to Digital Printing and Variable Data, is a thorough and in-depth source for helping printers transition to this business model. You can download it for free.
variable data printing,
Anyone selling print today using the methods they learned ten years ago (or more) is going to run into difficulties. The pandemic changed the way people feel about work and time. That’s what brought on the Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting phenomena. Print buyers, who may hold positions in marketing or the executive suite, place a high value on their time and they aren’t very tolerant of people who waste it.
It can take dozens of attempts to secure a meeting with a prospective customer. When you’re finally in the room with a decision-maker, don’t make mistakes that will cause them to end the meeting or deflect any attempts at following up.
print sales people,