Can You Speak Designer?

By | June 29, 2015

Today’s printers have learned to speak the language of marketers — ROI, A/B testing, channel optimization. But what about design?

As workflow and multichannel marketing become increasingly automated, what separates one MSP from another? Is it the ability to manage databases better than another? Provide better metrics? Offer deeper postal discounts through co-mingling? Technology powers marketing campaigns and broadens creative opportunities, but ultimately, its benefits that can be replicated.

That’s why marketing strategy and creative guidance are so critical to differentiation. These are human elements that cannot be replicated by technology.

I was recently reading PaperSpecs’ free email newsletter, and it was so full of cutting-edge ideas that I thought, “Wow! If printers are on this list, I’ll bet they really have an edge.” Then I wondered how many printers really were on the list. Probably not as many as there should be.

The most recent edition describes an award-winning book project printed on uncoated stock with ragged edges, gorgeous artwork, Smythe sewn binding hidden on the outside a piece of folded artwork, and a belly band made from discarded press sheets. Fascinating, with really unusual elements that could be brought in to high-end fundraising, annual reports, and premium marketing collateral. But they aren’t ideas most printers are are likely to come up with on their own.

Regular sections include Paper Inspirations, new product announcements from paper mills, and “Coolest Design of the Week,” as well as free webinars. Recently, PaperSpecs featured projects that “raise the Titanic, conjure up a Christmas scene in a box, and revisit 2012 with a calendar that REALLY loves Ukrainian football.” Intrigued? I’m sure your clients would be, too.

Webinars also tap into current hot topics, such as gold digital ink, white digital ink, and most recently, Coke’s creation of 2 million different designs on bottles of Diet Coke. So when your clients ask, “How did they do that?” you have the answer.

This isn’t to promote this specific newsletter, but to point out the value of broadening your horizons beyond print and workflow if you haven’t already. Technology isn’t going to differentiate your business forever. So really invest in the areas that will.

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