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Why Printed Stuff Is Still Important
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Last month, I gave an overview of how your marketing program is supported by three main ‘pillars’:

  • Traditional Marketing
  • Your Web Presence
  • Social Media and Networking

And yes, even in today’s mostly digital world of business, traditional marketing is still an enormously important piece of the marketing puzzle. What—printed stuff is still important?

The First Pillar of Marketing

As we mentioned in that previous article, traditional marketing is comprised of tools that businesses have been using for years (marketing plan, research, branding, differentiators, ads, and collateral). Even though they’re no longer the only tool in our marketing toolboxes, they really are mandatory if you want to be a high growth/high profitability company. And, since we’ve already covered most of those tools, this time we’ll talk about ads and collateral.

Let’s start with some basic information:

  • “Traditional” items like ads and collateral don’t have to be printed out on a piece of paper. The old-school techniques often translate quite nicely to modern digital formats. In some cases you’re better off choosing one or the other, and in some cases it will be to your advantage to have both digital and physical collateral: Understand your target audience, look at your budget, and learn where the opportunities are.
  • Online circulation frequently matches or even exceeds print circulation for many publications.
  • If you’re going to advertise, it’s usually best to advertise where your clients are. If you’re a B2B company, then trade publications are a great place to prospect for new business. If you’re a B2C company, then you need to be looking at a different sort of advertising space.
  • Ad rates vary considerably, based on publication, circulation, publication type, ad size/position, etc.  If you’re ready to make a longer term commitment, you’ll often get a much better rate. Ask for a Rate Card, and always ask for a discount!
  • Digital advertising is usually cheaper and often more effective than print advertising: Know your target audience.

It’s difficult to have a useful-but-generic discussion about advertising because there are so many different factors affecting your advertising decisions. So, let’s wrap up our discussion by talking about collateral.

As with advertising, there are a million different routes you can take with your collateral, so instead of only addressing a few of those choices superficially (business cards, brochures, postcards, and case studies, anyone?), I’ll provide some general pointers/resources for you.

  • If you want to create exceptional collateral, make every effort to use a real graphic design tool. I know everyone can’t afford/doesn’t need Adobe Creative Suite, but there are some good (and free/cheap) alternatives. GIMP (or Pixelmator  on a Mac) can replace Photoshop, Inkscape (or Affinity Designer on a Mac) can replace Illustrator, and Scribus does a reasonable job replacing InDesign. There are also non-Adobe versions of Premiere, Dreamweaver, After Effects, and Flash if you’re planning on going crazy with your digital advertising.
  • If you’re going to print something, use a local printer if they have a good reputation and you can afford them—they’re often provide a great deal of help, especially if you’re not sure what you’re doing. If you don’t have a local printer that you work with, aren’t using a specialty paper, aren’t going to make the printer jump through technically insane hoops, and feel confident with the basics, then I recommend using an online printer.
  • Look at pricing, delivery times, etc of several different online printers. Some specialize in certain areas and many of them will have assorted sales, off-and-on.
  • When you choose a printer (see my recommendations below), visit their website and download templates to use in creating your collateral. You’ll need to know what things like “crop lines” and “bleed” mean (and why they’re important). The printer’s templates and advice (usually in a Q&A section) will be especially invaluable in making sure what you see on screen is what you get on your piece of paper.
  • Here are a few outstanding online printers: MOO (best online printer around), Overnight Prints (the printer I usually use), Printing For Less (my backup printer), Greener Printer (a more eco-friendly option), and Café Press (for clothing/etc). If you need something like die cut stickers, banners, or foil printing, just contact me and I’ll give you info for companies that do those things.

I’ll discuss the specific ins-and-outs of having items printed in a later article, but for now this should be enough to get you started.

 

Charles Luna

Gnu 2 Marketing

Powerful Marketing & Branding

303.437.8950

www.Gnu2Marketing.com

 

 

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