Enterprise Level Solutions - Moving Print Forward

What does it take?

What makes a great enterprise-level print provider? Some may think it’s merely the ability to fulfill demand. If your enterprise level client needs to send half a million pieces of mail per day and you can provide it, that’s enough. Others feel it’s offering an enterprise level platform – a suite of software that drives client ordering, print production, invoicing, and client reporting. If you have that, then you’re ready to provide services to the world’s largest industries for print communication. These are both great offerings to be able to offer to enterprise-level customers, but it’s not what most enterprise level clients value most.

 

Flexibility

More than anything else, flexibility is often the biggest driver of value to enterprise clients. The ability to quickly onboard new print solutions, technologies, or integrations is something that will always make large clients happy. The reason behind this is pretty simple – enterprise clients are sophisticated. They use a ton of technology to drive their business and being able to keep up with changing demands is a must.

The ability to scale-up production facilities for a specific product and pop up a new API integration or custom reporting solution far outweighs the benefits of how many printing presses you currently have or how many features your one-size-fits-all platform has. If you can do all of this within 45 days, you’re going to start to look appealing to enterprise clients that need to move fast.

This type of on-demand problem solving and the ability to offer a custom solution is something that enterprise clients often need and value above just about anything else. Often, enterprises will even partner with print providers with great flexibility to be able to expand their product offering.

 

Electronic + Mail Communications (Enterprise or Emerging)

Most often, technology drives enterprise level print projects. Figuring out the best way to get data flowing directly into the production of printed mail is the most critical step. This is also where print providers with large “platform driven” production suites fall short. The ability to craft custom integrations with any existing ERP or data channel and drive print directly from it cuts down on time creates production cost savings and ensures data integrity by eliminating human error.

Technology and software organizations can thrive on print from a revenue standpoint as well, especially when providing an ongoing service (which most do these days). Software solutions requiring communications often have a need for a printed and mailed component as well as a digital-only communication. In the past, it may be up to the service purchaser (the software company’s client) to figure out how to bridge that gap and provide printed communications. More and more often, software development teams will have a far more accessible path to creating all of the integrations between the different channels (web, app, email, print).

 

Finding New Revenue

This is where our flexible printer comes in – they are equipped and flexible to help software companies ramp up production while cutting costs on staffing, facility costs, and the like. Enterprise and emerging technology companies are starting to see new untapped revenue sources with print – and that’s exciting.

With flexibility, agility, and opportunity new product offerings can happen quickly and efficiently for technology providers. Teaming up with the right printer is all it takes to start creating revenue from print.

While this is exciting for our enterprise clients, it’s also stimulating for printers like ABS as well. We have over 35 years of experience in flexibility and agility. Our best and most significant client relationships that helped launch our print production department were born from both and outsourcing and revenue sharing model. We’ve always embraced the partnership aspect of our business, and we look forward to the future of print as technology helps to propel it forward in new and creative ways.

Office Address
Applied Business Systems
26 Harvester Ave.
Batavia, NY 14020

Office Hours
8am – 5pm
Monday – Friday

Email
cs@absmail.com

Phone
(800) 447-7717
(585) 343-0962

Fax
(585) 343-0863


How to Sell More Print - Grow your Print Revenue

Leverage existing content you’re creating for customers to generate print content.

Things like: 
•    Email blasts become direct mailings – Convert your email design to a fantastic oversized postcard that fits easily into our direct mail templates.
•    E-book content becomes a bound and printed book – Arrange your ebook content into a bound layout. Using either InDesign or Illustrator, your content becomes a hard copy bound book or booklet that has much higher perceived value and much longer “stick” as it gets passed around among colleagues.
•    Digital ads become Point-of-Sale printed collateral driving more actionable awareness at the moment of purchase.

Printing services are a great way to generate additional revenue in billable hours for print design as well as markups of 30-40%. Agencies are given our distributor level wholesale pricing with the submission of a valid resale certificate.

Convert Email Blasts to Direct Mail

One of the latest trends seen in the digital communications arena is actually moving in reverse of the historical norms. Since the invention of e-mail, communications have been migrating to digital format and away from print, but interestingly we’re now seeing a new migration start take place in the opposite direction.

One major example of this is the fact that MailChimp is now offering printed postcards as a compliment to their email delivery services. With higher than average pricing and some basic design capabilities, it’s interesting too that one of the big online digital communications players is seeing the advantages of print as part of the omnichannel experience.

The advantages to direct mail have long been known but are adjusting slightly in our ever-changing communications world. With the buzz and clutter of digital now threatening more than ever to become static-white-noise that brand messages get lost in, direct mail has a unique quality that is growing in strength every day – marketing “stick”.

The marketing stick – or rather how long it will remain viewable on someone’s desk or countertop – is something we’ll cover in more detail in the next section but is highly important when it comes to remarketing your message. When you’re spending thousands of dollars every week on digital remarketing and retargeting campaigns, grabbing an extra 100 targeted impressions. This effect is heightened when you consider that your client’s potential lead has already expressed “interest” in not throwing the mail-piece away. When used effectively to the right audience, direct mail can become a strong part of the omnichannel.
Effective use of direct mail means, in part, that your direct mail gets where it needs to go. We’ve helped to design hundreds of thousands of direct mail templates over the years and understanding the postal requirements is the first step in making sure your direct mail arrives at its intended target. While there are many additional factors involved with mail-piece effectiveness, getting it to the recipient is a core component that many mailers overlook. To help with this, we’ve created a number of direct mail postcard templates for you to use in your next direct mail campaign artwork creation. These postcards adhere to the latest USPS postcard and oversized-postcard (letter class) guidelines while maximizing your designable space.

 

[button color=”accent-color” hover_text_color_override=”#fff” size=”large” url=”https://appliedbusinesssystems.com/direct-mail-template-request/” text=”Get your FREE Direct Mail Template Kit” color_override=””]

 

Convert E-book to Printed Books

The free e-book in exchange for a potential customer’s contact information is a play that’s reaching fever pitch as more and more useful, high-quality information is hitting the internet these days. The effectiveness of this concept has been analyzed and understood now for nearly a decade. Service providers provide value to convert sales by entrenching their brand as the authority on a given topic. Simple and effective.

Now marketers are using print to take it to the next level.

One underlying contradiction within the digital content marketing strategy is content “stick”. We talked about this in regard to direct mail, but the content stick can be even more powerful in terms of timing.

Why is digital content marketing powerful? “Because I need to know right now!” is the most common response. It’s the instant gratification of understanding immediately. However, the downfall of this is that as quickly as information can be ingested, the brand or information source can be forgotten if the potential client or customer is not ready to act. With a barrage of information assaulting us each minute of every day, the staying power of print is growing.

While the actual stick length of a printed material hasn’t changed dramatically in recent years –print materials are hanging around on office desks and kitchen catchalls just as long as ever – it has now become far more powerful, and we’re starting to understand it’s real potential.

Think of online digital remarketing. It’s hugely popular and you really can’t get by without it these days. You need to hammer customers with your message. You know they’re too busy to act the first time they’re exposed to your brand, so you’ve got to catch them at the right moment. One very effective way to do that is constant re-exposure. Embedding your message into a consumer’s mind. The most interesting thing of all is that printed books have been remarketing themselves for DECADES!

When your client’s printed content sits on a prospects desk in their office as a bound book, it’s hard at work collecting impressions, staying in the forefront of the mind. Once the information is consumed, the book remains. The book is still hard at work, still collecting impressions and perhaps getting shared with cohorts or colleagues if the content is compelling enough.

Like all print jobs for agencies, this becomes a profit center when you purchase at our wholesale distributor pricing. You probably grab some billable time as well during the design process of turning your client’s digital content into print ready artwork. To save you some time on this internally, we’ve mocked up a nice paginated book template for you to use in Adobe Illustrator. This will save you some time figuring out spreads and covers. If you’re still unsure about any aspect of the book layout for print, we’re always happy to help put the final touches on your work before the job hits our presses.

 

[button color=”accent-color” hover_text_color_override=”#fff” size=”large” url=”https://appliedbusinesssystems.com/book-template-request/” text=”Get your FREE Paginated Book Template Kit” color_override=””]

 

Convert Digital Ads to POS Print Materials

Point-of-sale (POS) situations are all about timing. The average retail POS transaction in America lasts less than two minutes. During that time, a consumer may need to make some key decisions that affect your client’s bottom line. Do they take the upsell or cross-sell? Sign up for the loyalty program? Book their next appointment?

Taking a look at why print at the POS interaction matters, we can take an example of our agency partners that had recently launched a loyalty program for one of their clients. The program was both compelling and valuable to the consumers. The agency promoted the program for their client through digital channels – web, social, email, all with re-targeting. The agency also scripted a compelling sales pitch for their client’s cashiers to prompt customers to enroll in the program. Initial results were fantastic. The first week saw higher conversion rates than were expected!

However, as the weeks wore on, customer enrollment dwindled. With the 30-day campaign ending, and the buzz and excitement starting to wear off, cashiers were feeling like they had to “sell” the program too much. Not wanting to feel pushy, they started not mentioning the program which further impacted enrollments. After a couple of months, a week went by that saw zero enrollments. Not good.

As an agency, it can be difficult to influence your client’s operational procedures sometimes. At the end of the day, you’re not always on site to coach or guide them about fully utilizing some of the tools you provide. In this case, our agency partner found a creative way to influence their client’s operations with a simple solution. Printed rack cards at the POS stations.

The result? Ongoing loyalty program conversions that rivaled the opening day of enrollment for the program.

The problem wasn’t that the campaign efforts were not targeted, relevant, or on point, it was simply that they weren’t timed properly. The buzz about the loyalty program hit tens of thousands of customers and garnered thousands of responses – all positive. However, when those customers came to the crucial two-minute window during their checkout process, they weren’t compelled to act. They had forgotten about the fantastic program and thus did not enroll. Print can help because it’s there. To make it easier for you to get it there, we’ve made up some common print format templates for your creative team to use when they start their next print project with us.

Office Address
Applied Business Systems
26 Harvester Ave.
Batavia, NY 14020

Office Hours
8am – 5pm
Monday – Friday

Email
cs@absmail.com

Phone
(800) 447-7717
(585) 343-0962

Fax
(585) 343-0863


Choosing the Right Paper for your Statement Mailings

Something that many banks and credit unions never think about is the actual paper that their statements are printed on. It’s a small detail but can say a lot about your organization. Paper or the “print stock” as it’s known in the printing industry is also one of the largest drivers of price on most print jobs.
There are three big factors when it comes to stock – weight, brightness/whiteness/shade (BWS), and finish.

Weight

Paper weights are pretty straightforward and easy to understand. The higher the paper weight in text weight papers, the thicker it feels in your hand. Many of our customers prefer a one-size-fits-all approach to paper thickness, using one paper weight across the board for all of their mailings. Maybe a better option is to be intentional when deciding which mailings use which weights. For example, statements could be put on a lighter stock while important notices may go out on something more substantial.
Heavier weights tend to convey authority to your message and can add a slight perception of importance to the content printed on the stock. This heavier paper also comes with a marginal cost consideration – the typical cost difference between a 24# (twenty-four pound) stock and a 20# stock is usually around xx%.
A 24# stock is sometimes a nice middle of the road stock that falls slightly over the 20# that can be found on most office desktop printers. It only takes a small increase in paper weight to create a big difference in the feel of your commercially printed statements.

Brightness, Whiteness, and Shade (BWS)

Brightness is a lesserknown option in paper specifications but can be a large factor in cost when it comes to printing large volumes. Some printers may skimp on paper brightness in order to keep their prices low but what does that do to the look and feel of your finished pieces? Well, they start to look faded, grey, and old.
The brighter paper makes your blacks pop and colors stand out. Overall your customers might not be able to tell it’s the brightness making the difference, but they will like the brighter piece better. We’ve seen some smaller copy shops use paper with brightness levels below 90. At a brightness of 88, your paper will start to look grey in tone.
Paper mills can use certain additives to increase the reflectivity of the paper and increase brightness sometimes even above 100. While these papers are very bright, they oftentimes aren’t economical and primarily used for special projects. To use a paper over 100 brightness for statements or daily mailings would probably be overkill and you would pay for it.
Whiteness falls into the conversation of brightness as it’s also a measure of reflected light. The difference between whiteness and brightness is the spectrum of light that is measured. While brightness measures only the blue light reflected, whiteness measures all reflected light. 
While it seems like whiteness should be the metric of focus, brightness is actually more important towards creating a high-end feel because of the third metric involved – shade. 
Typically, shade comes in three flavors, true-white, cream-white, and blue-white. Not surprisingly, most papers today swing towards the blue-white end of the shade spectrum, and that’s because they seem brighter. This is the primary reason why the brightness spectrum is often more important than the whiteness spectrum. However, it if your statements are printed on paper that is too blue, it can affect color quality. Digital printing can oftentimes get away with paper that’s slightly bluer (and brighter appearing) than inkjet can, due to the nature of the toner sitting on top of the paper versus soaking into the fibers. This is one of the main reasons we continue to believe in the high quality of digital printing.

Finish

Less relevant to statement-only printing, but still a part of the overall conversation, paper finishes come in a variety of different flavors. The primary categories being coated and uncoated. For statement printing, uncoated paper is favored both for economical purposes and also because of the folding process that happens during the insertion into an envelope prior to mailing.
Uncoated papers typically have three different styles – smooth, woven, and laid – but many specialty variations exist as well. While smooth paper is usually the norm, it’s not unheard of for higher-end statement customers to explore super-smooth or extra-smooth varieties we carry through our paper vendors.
At the end of the day, it’s all about customer preference and extending your brand into every communication you deliver. If you’re a high-end brand looking to deliver a high-end product then a highend paper can be appropriate for your statements. Conversely, if you’re the only game in town or competing from an economy standpoint finding the most economical option might be the right play.
No matter what your situation, we’re always open to consulting with our clients, both existing and new. So, if you’re looking to start up a new printed communications program or want to make a change in your current situation, contact us today and we’ll find the paper that’s right for you.

Ready to dive into paper and have us find the perfect fit for your printed statements?

Office Address
Applied Business Systems
26 Harvester Ave.
Batavia, NY 14020

Office Hours
8am – 5pm
Monday – Friday

Email
cs@absmail.com

Phone
(800) 447-7717
(585) 343-0962

Fax
(585) 343-0863


One Mailing Pays for the Service

A RiteList™ Case Study: East Aurora UFSD

East Aurora Union Free School District recently purchased our RiteList product. Joanne M. George, the district’s business manager, conducted a thorough cost-benefit analysis comparing her original list with an actual mailing after purchasing RiteList™.

Cost-Benefit Analysis:

May Bulk Mailing                    8,079 pieces

RiteList™ Accurate Mailing List    5,156 addresses

Over Produced Mailing Pieces        2,923 pieces

Cost of per item postage            0.08222

Cost of per item printing            0.66

Cost of overproduction            $2,619.51

Cost of RiteList™                $2,667.00*

*Invest in a one-time fee to generate your RiteList™ and use it an unlimited amount of times.

One mailing pays for the service. ???? – Joanne M. George

She also considered future print and mail projects like district calendars.

Residents            5,156

Staff                275

District Offices        50

Extra for the year        100

Estimated Total        5,581 (round up to 5,600*)

*Instead of based on previous year of 8,000 – Estimated 2,400 less produced

Thank you for all of your help with this project. It was a project that will save this district in years to come with all of its bulk mailings. – Joanne M. George

Conclusion:

RiteList™ is the most accurate mailing list any school can purchase. Even the list provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS) can include thousands of incorrect addresses.

Click here for a free analysis to show you the accuracy of your current list.

Office Address
Applied Business Systems
26 Harvester Ave.
Batavia, NY 14020

Office Hours
8am – 5pm
Monday – Friday

Email
cs@absmail.com

Phone
(800) 447-7717
(585) 343-0962

Fax
(585) 343-0863


Give Your Transactional Printing the Attention it Deserves

Every communication matters.

Whether it’s a social media post that could go viral, a billboard, a direct mail postcard, or your statements or invoices, companies should invest wisely in ALL of their communications. Every touch point someone has with your organization is an opportunity to grow or diminish your brand. While one piece of communication grows and strengthens your brand and its core messaging, the next one – if ill-prepared – can have a tenfold negative impact that turns consumers or potential clients away from you.

One of the most often neglected touch points organizations have with their customers are transactional communications. These are things like statements, invoices, official notices, and other accounting communications that deliver information specific to the recipient. Their sole purpose is to deliver that information, which a programmer often pulls from a database personalizing each individual letter, postcard, or email. This type of communication delivers the information perfectly, but they also deliver something else, which is the brand identity of the company it’s coming from.

Often times the brand identity lives at the top of an organization. Closely guarded in the C suite, utilized by the marketing team and graphic designers, and discussed by the founder at the company picnic, but does that brand identity get shared with the programmer who set-up your transactional communication? One easy way to tell is by looking at an organizations marketing mail versus their transactional mail. Do they look the same or are your recipients getting mixed messages? If they don’t, there was probably a disconnect between the brand and the IT department that sorted out the variable data components of your mailing.

In order to stay consistent with your branding, the same high level of design and execution should be used across all of your transactional print and electronic communications. It should match your brand guidelines and deliver the same feel as your most successful marketing pieces do. A few things to remember when crafting your transactional communications:

1) Utilize brand colors. Saving money by trying to print black only communications will end up costing you in the long run in brand authority. Now, your customers probably won’t go running for the hills the moment they open a non-color statement, but you’re missing an important opportunity to further your brand. Branding is a long-term investment.

 

2) Use similar language and tone. Your customers interact with you in a number of ways, and your company probably spends a lot of energy crafting great copy for marketing materials and scripting wonderful customer service interactions that keep people coming back. Unless you’re bound by some legal or regulatory need to use very specific language that deviates from how you normally speak to your customer or member base, keep your wording in line with your brand.

 

3) Layout is essential.

Transactional communication should be simple and easy to understand so it inspires action and understanding. Regardless of branding, you probably try your best to always be clear and concise with all of your communications – the same goes for transactional. Work with partners that understand the psychology of transactional documents and know how to craft layouts that work. Printers are great at this because of the heritage the industry has in forms design. If your printer has a Certified Forms Consultant (CFC) on staff, their knowledge of document layout can be leveraged to ensure great readability.

 

4) Images that connect. Transactional print doesn’t have to be bland. Fantastic imagery can be used in a variety of ways to enhance the overall look and feel of your document. Well placed and high-quality images can support the message you’re trying to convey or be used to deliver other corresponding information or highlight a call to action. Color and clarity are key points here. With the rise of ink-jet printing, some mailers are seeing a downgrade of image quality. Make sure your ink-jet provider is giving you the maximum resolution and ink coverage to on images to avoid faded or blurry print. You might want to consider checking out a digital option as well. Digital always gives a high-quality image, and many times stack up well to ink-jet in terms of price due to production efficacies.

Protecting your brand should be at the heart of every printed or electronic touch point you have with your customers, clients, or members. If you follow the guidelines above and connect all of your communications with your overall brand message, the results will show. Customers become more engaged and enthusiastic, you gain brand recognition, and most importantly you’ll sleep better at night knowing you’re not leaving something on the table with statements, invoices, or other types of messaging that doesn’t connect.

ABS can help you on this brand unifying journey. We’ve spent years helping organizations send out unified communications that look, feel, and sound like they’re all coming from a single source. From design and layout all the way to production and mailing, ABS delivers a partner-approach to all of our customers that ensures your brand communications connect every step of the way.

Office Address
Applied Business Systems
26 Harvester Ave.
Batavia, NY 14020

Office Hours
8am – 5pm
Monday – Friday

Email
cs@absmail.com

Phone
(800) 447-7717
(585) 343-0962

Fax
(585) 343-0863


3 Simple Mistakes That Cost a Fortune When Creating a Print Mailing

1. Be Flexible With the Finished Size and Paper Stock

The way your mail piece is processed varies, sometimes significantly, between vendors and even within the same vendor.

Depending on how the processes are set up, your project could have a much lower price point with even a 1/8” change in artwork. Sometimes that 1/8” can also drive the price much higher.

Why the difference? The press might be set up to do your job 2-up where the pricing is half of a 1-up situation or the cutter, inserter, etc. is set up a certain way and it will take time to reconfigure it. That set-up time is added to the cost of your job.

There are countless reasons, but if the process flow has to be adjusted for your extra 1/8” – it’s going to cost you.

Be flexible and ask your printer what their preferred size is for this project or if they recommend a different size that better fits their current machines and processes. You might be a small change away from a dramatic price change.

2. Avoid Coatings

Coatings like UV or Aqueous (AQ) are sold with the idea that they protect your piece much more than without the coating.

The reality though is that your mail piece will be mangled by the USPS. Their sorting equipment is very fast and efficient but it is anything but gentle. There’s just no full-proof way to protect the piece from scrapes and streaks.

In my experience, the UV smudges a lot, AQ a little less, and uncoated pieces don’t smudge but everything can streak. Personally, I think the UV looks the worst when mangled by the USPS equipment because it’s smearing the coating around like a thin layer of molasses.

In a way, you’re really just paying for the type of streak or smudge that will eventually end up on some of your pieces. It just happens to be that some of those streaks and smudges cost more than others.

We recommend going with the cheaper marks and avoiding coatings altogether – unless it’s a design or style choice but that is a different story altogether.

3. Pay Attention to Postage

Postage is expensive. Sometimes it’s more than the manufacturing costs but it’s mandatory – right up there with death and taxes right? Maybe not.

There is a lot that goes into determining postage. Basically the more you or your vendor do for the post office, the more discounts you receive. Sometimes those discounts are passed on to you but sometimes they’re kept by your vendor. (More on that in a bit.)

There are co-minglers and software that sort the pieces into trays the USPS can easily move into the mail stream and thus have discounts associated with those efforts.

If a mailing is primarily going to the area around a large city – dropping the mail off at that city’s BMEU post office is going to give you a much deeper discount than dropping the mail at a local post office even 50 miles away.

There are companies who give you a flat rate for postage – hooray, you know how much it will be – but they are marking it up – oh no, you are paying more than you should.

Ask your vendor directly if they are marking up their postage. One question could save you 5% off your postage total.

Another contributing factor is the size of the mail piece – it’s back again. A 1/8″ could kick you into a new category (from letter to flat or machinable to non-machinable) and now you’re paying a lot more than you would have otherwise.

The artwork on the mail piece. It seems silly but if your piece doesn’t fit the exact specifications of the post office and they can’t run it through their machines, you’re going to lose your discounts and that can be very bad. It could dramatically increase the price of your mailing.

To protect yourself from accidentally skyrocketing your postage, work with a print-vendor you trust. Ask them if there are opportunities to reduce postage costs by changing the size of the piece or artwork. Likewise, you can look through the USPS website for all the requirements in the world or request templates from your print vendor or direct through the USPS.

Postage is expensive so make sure you’re only paying what you need to and not inflating the costs with something that could be fixed with a small change.

(BONUS) Research When Buying a List

There are lots of mailing list providers out there. Most of the time it’s the same information but there are good and bad vendors too so you have to be careful.

A bad vendor will sell you a low-quality list. Sometimes the list is cheap, sometimes it’s expensive but either way, you lose.

A good vendor will sell you a high-quality list generally at a medium to high price. The price will go down based on how many records you are purchasing.

How do you tell the difference?

Experience will speak volumes but there are a few things you can do before you pull the trigger with a new vendor.

Make sure they are scrubbing their lists. Ask where they are getting their list information. Make sure it’s not random landing pages all over the world. You want specific and usable data for your project, otherwise it will cost you twice! Once when you pay for the list and again when your mail pieces are delivered to the wrong people.

Do your due diligence and don’t assume that the list you’re buying off the internet is as awesome as the salesperson says it is. Take a few steps to dig a little deeper and it could save you a lot of time and money down the road.

Summary

  • Be flexible with your piece wherever you can be. Ask your printer or mail-house for their recommendations on sizes and papers when you can.
  • Stay away from UV and AQ coatings to save sometimes sizable amounts of money with little to no difference in the final results.
  • Ask if your vendor or mail-house is going to charge actual postage. Make sure they aren’t marking it up. It could save you 5% on your postage.
  • Ask your vendor if there are small changes that could reduce the postage on your mailing piece.
  • Do a little research when buying lists from new vendors.

Follow just a few of these with your next mailing project and you’re sure to save money. Follow them all on every project and be ready to become the mailing project hero in your office.

When you’re increasing profits everyone takes notice from accounting to the CEO and they’ll be thanking you.

Office Address
Applied Business Systems
26 Harvester Ave.
Batavia, NY 14020

Office Hours
8am – 5pm
Monday – Friday

Email
cs@absmail.com

Phone
(800) 447-7717
(585) 343-0962

Fax
(585) 343-0863


Has Agency/Production Decoupling Hurt Your Company?

It’s time to fight back.

A couple of years back “agency/production decoupling” became a trending topic in marketing circles. The idea was, that clients could go directly to manufacturers (television production or PRINT production) and deliver their agency-made creative in order to cut costs. Not a bad idea – if you’re in the accounting department.

Did this idea ever gain traction? Did customers begin to decouple their marketing from production? Most of all – did it work?

Whether or not this idea actually gained any traction in the marketing arena is subject to a lot of different variables. Digital marketing has been on the rise of our growingly connected world since the first banner ad was injected into a static HTML website, and the rise of social media has only poured gasoline on the already raging fire of online marketing.

However, with the social platforms all making a big push to target consumers of all technical skill levels, this begs to ask if any of them have actually adopted a decoupling attitude beyond clicking that oh-so-tempting “Boost Now” button on their most recent Facebook post. Have agencies been relegated to mere content-creators in other areas of marketing as well?

While this prospect doesn’t seem so bad as long as the creative work keeps flowing, it is troubling to miss potential revenues and markups on production related items created by video or print production organizations that GET the agency/production relationship.

I think the most important question here, however, is the third one – did this actually work? Were costs actually cut? This answer again is more difficult to define than simply looking at the line items on your client’s last production invoice.

The bottom line comes down to the quality of the final deliverable. Severing the connection between creator and maker will almost ALWAYS drive down the quality of the end product. Whether it’s digital implementation of a cropped graphic, video production that misses the mark on audio cues, or a printed piece that ended up being put on the wrong stock. We all know what happens when the creative suffers – the results do as well.

One result may be to simply do more of the same poorly implemented creative to achieve the same results. Doing more, spending more and achieving less. Sounds like perhaps the decouplers had it wrong from the start.

The pushback on this is to work with production companies that understand, appreciate, and work in partnership with your creative agency. Simply writing a quote to the requested specs can be enough, but for when it’s not, you should look to partner with a company that’s been on your side of the fence, someone who understands client expectations in both marketing AND production.

That production partner delivers sample stocks to your front door, helps identify the exact print method or postage type needed to achieve discounts, and even invites you to see sales-kit creation being hand stuffed by an army of makers – that is the production partner you need, and if you haven’t guessed it yet – we do all those things and are available to discuss your next print project this week.

Office Address
Applied Business Systems
26 Harvester Ave.
Batavia, NY 14020

Office Hours
8am – 5pm
Monday – Friday

Email
cs@absmail.com

Phone
(800) 447-7717
(585) 343-0962

Fax
(585) 343-0863


5 Things to Consider About Your Statement Printer

Whether you’re happy or not with your current print vendor, looking for a new print vendor or looking for your first print vendor, there’s a couple of things to keep in mind before stepping into (or out of) or continuing these relationships.

1)    Is your print vendor’s Customer Service Department friendly and willing to take your calls on the phone?

Vendors who often have Customer Service staff who are overburdened with work, unpleasant and unwilling to go the extra mile, can be the worst experience to go through when ordering a print piece. I know some clients that have stayed in relationships with their print vendors who they absolutely dreaded ordering from. They did it because, “they were just the vendor that we always used” or, “we didn’t know of anyone else that could do it”.

Even worse, are the vendors who don’t even HAVE a Customer Service department and rely on their staff members serving in other business functions who REALLY don’t have the time and desire to deal with your call.

The ABS Customer Service Team handles every call with the care and consideration it deserves. Whether you’re our largest client or our smallest, we always go the extra mile to make sure you’re satisfied.

2)    Can you speak to the Production Staff when needed?

One of the worst experiences you can have with your print vendor is being stonewalled from talking to the right people. Granted, this doesn’t need to happen very often, but when it does need to happen, getting in touch with the right person is imperative.

From time to time even the best Customer Service team needs to cut out the middle man and get a customer directly linked up with the folks that are producing the end product. Often these cases revolve around very complex print jobs or variable data projects that have a lot of moving parts and deal with sometimes dozens of different variables.

Communication between our Production and Customer Service teams is paramount to our success. Whenever the need arises to engage the customer in the production process, our Customer Service team will get the right people involved (and on the phone) to ensure everything runs smoothly.

3)    Slow turns on proofs

Most printers these days have production times that are aggressive. Especially in the variable data printing world where there are often projects with the need for 72, 48 or even 24 hour SLAs from proof approval. The number of these projects have grown tremendously in the last decade to meet the demands of our fast-paced world.

The caveat to this, however, is that many printers’ production timetable begins AFTER proof approval, giving them a sort of cushion (that many will exploit) in order to meet their SLAs. There’s nothing worse than having to wait two days for your artwork to be turned around so you can approve it – especially when as a client, you may have multiple levels of approval that need to happen. This can create delays in your production and leave YOUR members or customers waiting.

Proof turns happen in some cases almost instantly with our automated composition engines kicking into action the minute your files are uploaded into our system. For jobs that aren’t automated, we adhere to whatever SLA the client needs, with the required proofing time INCLUDED in all of our SLAs.

4)    Confirmation of mail delivery

Whether you’re sending monthly statements or a one-off marketing mailing, having the knowledge and confirmation that your job has entered the mail stream can be critical to your down-stream business processes. There may be something action that has to happen next like a call center or data team that needs to be on the lookout for responses or payments from your mail recipients.

If your print vendor doesn’t offer a confirmation of job completion, you or your team can get caught unaware of these things, adding further latency to your communications and slowing you down.

Every mailing job that hits our machines is logged when it enters the mail stream and our customers can request to be notified when a particular job enters the mail stream. For our enterprise level clients, notification is automated, so they know where each piece of communications is during the production process including the entry to the mail stream.

5)    Poor image quality

Especially in the transactional and statement printing world, image quality or overall print quality is something that is often overlooked much to your detriment. Print vendors who rely on aging or improperly maintained equipment can have a finished product that, while it conveys the necessary information, isn’t up to the task of representing your organization professionally. Images and text can appear faded or blurry on older machines and don’t deliver the sense of quality that your mail recipients expect.

Our five state of the art print engines are always under OEM maintenance contracts, making sure they’re properly maintained and always putting out the highest level of print quality for both our color and black-only presses.

Office Address
Applied Business Systems
26 Harvester Ave.
Batavia, NY 14020

Office Hours
8am – 5pm
Monday – Friday

Email
cs@absmail.com

Phone
(800) 447-7717
(585) 343-0962

Fax
(585) 343-0863