Author Archives: Bob Boucher

About Bob Boucher

Bob Boucher is Principal and Creative Director at Boucher Communications. He has 25 years of experience in the graphic arts and digital printing industries as a marketing consultant, copywriter and public speaker. URL: bouchercreative.wordpress.com LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/bobboucher Email: boucherbob@verizon.net

Ink Different – A New Model for Costing Color

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Every single person sees color differently, as does most every single press. That reality presents an ongoing challenge for manufacturers, particularly when asked by customers to quote prices for ink and coverage.

“It’s one of the most important conversations we have with customers,” according to Guy Broadhurst, VP Technology and Client Solution for Canon Solutions America. Guy led a CSA Press Go webinar on February (date), entitled “Ink Coverage and Ink Cost – An Approach to Standardization.”

The very terms – “ink coverage” and “ink cost” – often get mistakenly interchanged, according to Guy. He cited common requests, such as, “Give me a price for 5% coverage or with this media,” or “What’s my cost per copy?”

Good, Better or Best?

There are no stock answers. The influence of paper on ink coverage is the biggest factor in inkjet printing, Guy notes. “We must ask, ‘Do you want good, better or best paper?’”

Interestingly, the cost per impression rises as quality of paper decreases.  Multiply that difference over a 5-year period, and your ink cost rises considerably as quality of paper decreases. 

The Only Option

Guy now injects “an objective component” into what has traditionally been a subjective decision. His new standardized approach uses these criteria:

  1. Provide the best fidelity — the paper that offers the greatest color gamut.
  2. Print a defined color patch using all colors as a defined percentage of the sheet, and provide the exact cost. This becomes the control for comparing vendor to vendor.
  3. Ask for a targeted color and variance allowed, measured by a deltaE. The difference of 1 DeltaE can mean hundreds of thousands in extra costs.

Subjective measurements have skewed the conversation for too long, Guy asserts – much to the customers’ detriment. It’s time introduce objectivity into the equation for measuring print quality.

Rethink LinkedIn

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Like many others, you may have thought of LinkedIn as a place meant for posting resumes and searching for jobs. Think again.

LinkedIn just may be the best online marketing venue in the business – especially if you have a business-to-business company.

Launched in 2003, LinkedIn has recently emerged as a bonafide marketing behemoth within the social media landscape. It surpassed both Twitter and Facebook as a platform for posting marketing content, according the Content Marketing Institute report, 2013 Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends.

LinkedIn has recently amassed an astounding 200 million members. Plus, it acquires 172,800 new members every day. LinkedIn also generates the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate — 2.74% — nearly three times more than Twitter and Facebook, according to a 2012 HubSpot study.

If you’re like other business owners, you know that you need to build an online brand presence. But, like many, your eyes glaze over at the infinite number of social media options.

So, let’s simplify this. If you had to choose just one social network for marketing your business online, LinkedIn would be a pretty good place to start. It’s easy to set up. It’s free, unless you spring for the Premium plan, and it won’t take up your entire workday to follow or maintain. Here are some simple action items:

  1. Sign up. If you haven’t already done so, stop everything and set up a LinkedIn account for your company. By the way, a newer, sleeker LinkedIn Company Pages, launched last year, makes it easier to connect your business with those 200 million other users.
  2. Introduce yourself. Write a company profile with strong, relevant keywords. Let people know who you are, what you do, and how to reach you. Maintain your page with regular company updates and news.
  3. Join LinkedIn groups. (FYI: My favorite LinkedIn feature.) Join LinkedIn groups — either within your industry or in those you’re targeting to grow your business. See what people are talking about and sharing.
  4. Build contacts. LinkedIn is ultimately a great place to network. Invite people you know to be “contacts” and, likewise, accept invitations from others to join their contact list. LinkedIn etiquette generally frowns on asking complete strangers to be contacts, but you may ask existing contacts for referrals to their connections.
  5. Contribute. While LinkedIn is generally a promotion-free zone, it nonetheless encourages you to share and respond to relevant news, trends, observation and opinion with your groups and contacts. It’s a great way to build brand awareness for you and your company and widen your network of professional connections.

So, thinking about giving LinkedIn a try?  Good call. May be the best thing you do today for your company.

Editor’s Note: Bob Boucher is President of Boucher Communications. A communications professional for 30 years, Bob is an experienced marketer, copywriter, journalist and content generator for enterprises and agencies. He has spent much of the past 20 years in the graphic arts and digital printing industries.

Pellow Predicts: 2013 Top 10 Trends for the Printing Industry

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At a Canon Oce webinar on January 23, InfoTrends Group Director Barbara Pellow presented “2013 Top 10 Trends for the Printing Industry.”

1. Digital Color is King. All bets are on digital color printing. InfoTrends research forecasts an increase from $29.6 to $39.5 billion in the retail value of  U.S. digital color from 2011 through 2016.

2. Digital Wide Format Goes Mainstream. Digital wide format printing evolves into an key component of companies’ marketing strategies, and will continue its 7% CAGR from 2011 through 2016.

3. Inkjet Accelerates Migration from Offset to Digital. New inkjet solutions offer greater speed, quality, substrate flexibility, and finishing –  as well as more  competitive pricing. Major inkjet growth expected from books, direct mail, transpromo and brochure printing.

4. Enhanced Substrates Drive Digital. Digital presses support new, high margin substrates: rugged synthetics; pressure sensitive stocks; specialty media; pre-scored, ready-to-print dimensional stock; new photobook media, and others.

5. Web-to-Print Manages Marketing Supply Chains. Companies spend billions for producing, shipping, storing, and handling literature. PSPs will optimize the marketing supply chain  – offering online print-on-demand collateral catalogues.

6. Content Reigns. Fifty-four percent of B2B firms increase spending on content marketing. PSP’s cultivate “thought leadership” offering content that educates, entertains and motivates.

7. Hyper-Personalization Drives Digital Print. 2013 is the “Year of Hyper-Personalization” – when marketing materials address more relevant, compelling needs of the consumer. Examples: mailers with personalized map directions and printed materials with PURLs linked to pre-approved applications.

8. Trigger-Based Marketing Meets Customer Preferences. Consumers expect real-time, two-way communications, through mobile devices, websites, and social media. PSPs customers will adopt marketing automation technology, e.g., from Market Sprocket, Hubspot, Orange Soda and Hootsuite.

9. Mobile Marketing Changes Communications. PSPs add mobile marketing solutions to the portfolio: mobile codes printed on packaging, POS, and brochures;  “opt-in mobile messaging” to mobile devices; Augmented Reality – digital graphics coded onto physical objects – revealing information or entertainment via mobile devices.

10. Direct Mail and Social Media Converge. PSPs support customers with social media marketing tools from Ducky, Hootsuite, SpreadFast, and others. Campaigns integrating direct mail with social media lift responses for both.