Personalized Print: Are You Focused on the Right Things?

For customers first getting involved in 1:1 print marketing, the question that inevitably arises is, “How can I maximize my investment?” This question often creates great angst about how much data they have and whether or not that data is sufficient to personalize the document for maximum return. But how much data you have is not the only important factor. The following factors are also critical in getting the results you want.

  1. Quality of the database. 

Often, marketers get so caught up in volume that they overlook the importance of accuracy. If you have a choice between spending your budget on getting more data and spending it on getting good data, go for quality every time.

  1. Forget cute. Go for relevant. 

Think “customer motivation.” Many marketers get caught up in creating ads that are cute and memorable, but this doesn’t work with relevance-based targeting. You have about three seconds to catch the recipient’s attention. If the customer has to think too hard or if there is not a clear call to action, your piece will fall short.

  1. Include a call to action. 

Don’t assume the recipient knows what you want them to do. Make sure the text clearly states the end goal: visit the store, buy a product, attend a seminar.

One mortgage company learned this lesson the hard way. It created a witty postcard whose front showed a pizza slice stuffed with dollar bills. The headline read, “It’s Not Delivery. It’s [Name of Mortgage Company].”  Confusing, right? It showed in the response rate — .5%. On the next go-round, the marketer added the wording, “We deliver the best mortgage in town.” The response rates tripled.

Remember, when crafting 1:1 print marketing, it’s not about how good you are. It’s about how good the message is. Ready to put your personalization ideas in motion? Give us a call. That’s why we’re here.

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Voting Matters!

Here we sit, several days after Election Day, and, in Northern Kentucky, the pollsters are shocked at the results. Polls had clearly indicated a win for the Democratic candidate for Governor and the Republican candidate came out the winner.

One commentator said, “it makes us question if polling parameters are changing”. If polling is like business in general, of course it is changing. As I’ve blogged in the past, change is a fact of life.

However, the results of this election also indicated that getting out the vote is critical. In Northern Kentucky, we have been lazy about getting to the polls in previous statewide elections. But, this year, we significantly increased the number of voters from our area. Since Northern Kentucky is heavily Republican, I believe that’s what changed the expected outcome. The pollsters didn’t expect this increased voter turnout.

Just goes to show that your vote does matter. A few days before election day, a reporter cited at least 10 recent examples of elections that were decided by one vote across our nation. One vote! This truly is an example of where each and every person’s vote counts!

As voters, we should have several focuses during election cycles:

  • Know the candidates – what do they stand for, what is their past experience, what are their promises?
  • Get out and vote – as a citizen of the United States of America you have the awesome privilege of being able to speak your mind and cast your vote. Don’t take this privilege lightly.
  • If you don’t vote, don’t complain – that’s rather like the parent who is constantly criticizing his child’s soccer coach or referee. If you don’t like what you see, then step up and volunteer to do it yourself. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the results of the election process.
  • If you don’t like your representation, then do something about it – run for election, hold fundraisers for candidates you like, ring doorbells and make phone calls on a worthy candidate’s behalf.
  • Let your voice be heard – not just at election time, but all year round. Participate in your local government by attending city council meetings, writing letters to the editor, reading the local news and understanding the issues, volunteer to help improve your community.

We are blessed to live in the greatest country on earth. People risk life and limb to gain entry into this great nation because of many things, some of which include:

  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of religion
  • Right to bear arms
  • Right to elect our representatives

If they’re willing to die to attain these benefits, shouldn’t we at least get involved and get out and vote for those who determine our futures?

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Family and Small Business

Family business is good for America! Family businesses:

  • Employ 67% of the workforce
  • Are responsible for 78% of all new job creation
  • Drive $8.3 trillion of GDP

I am proud of our family business!

Business gets a bad rap these days. Business owners are called:

  • Greedy
  • Selfish
  • Getting rich on the backs of their workers

Most of the family businesses are small businesses. And, the last thing I would call those business owners, that I know, is greedy or selfish. In fact, many of their workers actually out-earn them because they are continually investing back into their businesses.

So, what would happen if small business and family business owners decided to take their toys and go home? What would happen if they decided to cash out and invest their money in the stock market instead of in their business? Where would the new job creation come from? Who would fill in the gap for the $8.3 trillion loss of GDP? Who would employ the 67% of workers who would suddenly be unemployed?

Small and family business owners take lots of risk with their money. Most often they have pledged their homes to secure the loans they need to start and grow their businesses. So, why would anyone begrudge the small and family owned business owners a fair return on the money they are risking? In fact, why would we begrudge any business owner, large or small, a fair return on their investment?

Business is what drives America! It’s why we have the highest standard of living in the world. It’s why our poor are rich, in comparison to those in other countries. Business is good for America and America should support businesses with a fair tax structure, sensible legislation and laws that help, not hamper, growth.

That growth means more jobs for more people. It means higher GDP for our country. It means fewer people on unemployment and other public assistance. It means self-respect. A good day’s work is rewarding, not only for our checking account, but for our self-esteem. We know we gave our best and we’re proud of our contribution to our company’s success. Our children see our efforts and our willingness to work hard to support our families. They grow up knowing the value of a job well done!

So, the next time you’re complaining about all the money these rich business owners make, stop for a reality check! Thank you, to all of the family and small business owners! I appreciate your entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to risk it all while providing jobs and income.

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It seems like the word “diversity” appears almost daily in our news publications. I’m puzzled as to why we keep discussing this topic. Our world is no longer centered in the small town in which we live. We are a global society with a global economy, which means we need to be able to get along with others different than ourselves.

We buy from the Chinese, we sell to the French – and vice versa. We don’t question the gender, nationality or religion of those who desire to purchase what we produce. We’re just happy that someone wants to buy what we sell.

I just returned from a vacation that took me to Alaska. While Alaska is one of the 50 states that make up the United States, there were many times that I felt like I was in a foreign country.

  • The harsh weather causes their population to be very sparse as compared to the land mass they occupy.
  • Their infrastructure is dictated by the number of residents. Fewer residents mean fewer roads and less infrastructure.
  • Native Alaskans do not look like people who live in small towns throughout the Midwest.
  • Housing, food, fuel and merchandise are much more expensive there than on the mainland, due to high transportation costs.
  • The majority of homes do not have indoor plumbing.
  • Most homes have to truck in water.
  • Some residents can reach their homes only through seaplanes.
  • If you want to catch the train, there is no need to go to the train station – just stand next to the tracks and flag one down.
  • Drinks are served without ice – unless requested. Maybe it’s because everything is so darn cold, they don’t feel the need to make it colder.

Alaska was very different from Kentucky. And while the Bluegrass State is quite beautiful, the natural beauty of Alaska was incredible. The pictures I took could not do justice to the scenery I saw. Even the people who were not full-time residents, but were just there for the “summer season” were different. They were brave pioneers – willing to just pick up and move to Alaska because of it’s beauty.

Many of the young people we met left their homes to be in the Alaskan wilderness to act as guides, cruise ship employees, shop clerks and servers. They love Alaska – not enough to live there in the winter, but they enjoy the outdoor opportunities available in the last wilderness during the “season”. And, when the season is over, they pick up and go somewhere else exciting. I think they are very brave and adventuresome. They are different than I was at that age.

So, Alaska was different, which is another way of saying diverse. It doesn’t mean it was better and it doesn’t mean it was worse – it was just different. It provided a different experience, from which I learned a lot.

Chocolate ice cream is different from strawberry ice cream and some may prefer one flavor over the other, but I don’t know too many people who would pass up an ice cream cone, no matter what flavor it was.

Differences may provide viewpoints and life experiences that are not familiar – language that is strange to our ears. However, there is much to be gained in developing diverse relationships. Your business can thrive when new ideas are put forth. Your palate may discover that it really enjoys the flavor of curry. Learning a new tradition can add new life to your holidays. Different can be good!

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You may think it’s just a box, but usually it’s so much more than that. Packaging has many roles:

  • Protects the environment from the contents
  • Stores the contents until they are ready to be used
  • Protects the contents from any hazards encountered during transit
  • Provides the buyer with instructions on how to use, recycle or dispose of the packaging or the content.
  • Provides nutritional or ingredient information.
  • Supports the brand and delivers the marketing message through shape, color, messaging and materials. Packaging is one of the ways organizations can get the consumers to notice their products on the shelves.


At Multi-Craft, our role in packaging is in the marketing realm. We produce customized containers for our clients to:

  • Test consumer reaction to potential packaging designs before they commit to a long and expensive package production run – these are often called sales samples.
  • Customized packages that will transport our clients marketing materials, samples or promotional products. Three-dimensional mailings can be a great way to get past the gatekeeper and to your intended target.

Packaging can play a very important role in communicating directly to consumers. In a grocery store, a shopper passes approximately 600 items each minute. Packaging may be the only way to get some of these consumers to notice your product.

Marketers, and their organizations, spend a great deal of time and money researching color, text, shapes, substrates and graphics in an effort to gain the advantage on the grocery shelf. Producing a short run of the various designs can help an organization test the market to see which package produces the best results. Once that is determined, they can produce a large run to roll out to all distributors.

When you’re ready to take the next step into packaging, let us help put your Ideas in Motion!

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Pantone Inc., the company best known for its Pantone Matching System (PMS), which is a standardized color reproduction system, annually announces the Color of the Year! The color is published in Pantone View for fashion designers, florists and other consumer-oriented companies to use in guiding their designs and planning for future products.

Here are the colors for the last five years:

  • 2011 – Honeysuckle
  • 2012 – Tangerine Tango
  • 2013 – Emerald
  • 2014 – Radiant Orchid
  • 2015 – Marsala

Color is important in marketing. We know that the purpose of marketing is to put your products and services in front of your targets, hoping they will purchase. Color plays an important role in that marketing because color is emotional. And, one of the keys of marketing is to speak to people on an emotional level.

According to Jack Bredenfoerder, director of BV Color Strategy, and past president of the Color Marketing Group, there are five factors impacting the use of color in any design project:

  1. Color Physics – the interaction of the object, the light source and the observer. If you have a color that will be viewed on outdoor signage and inside a restaurant under candlelight, you may want to increase the saturation of the color to be viewed by candlelight.
  2. Color Psychology – there is much disagreement on the meaning of different colors. Red can be loving and sexy, but it can also evoke carnage and danger. So, color + context is important.
  3. Color Influence and Forecasting – color forecasting incorporates larger influences such as politics, medicine and culture. Several years ago, as the political environment started to heat up and social issues sparked polarization, colors tended to go “angry”. They were aggressive and bold. Today, people are growing weary of the “shouting” and colors are becoming warmer and richer.
  4. Color Fads, Trends and Cycles – watch the New York runways and the Hollywood red carpet, as fashion designers are often harbingers of the trends that eventually reach marketing.
  5. Color and Culture – design trends are influenced by the culture around us. The design palettes of Philadelphia are as influenced by the richness of its historic architecture as they are by the Philadelphia Eagles’ green jerseys.

Color Wheel Pro reports the meaning of specific colors:

  • Red – fire, blood, energy, war, danger, strength, power, passion, desire and love
  • Orange – joy, sunshine, enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity and encouragement
  • Yellow – joy happiness, intellect and energy
  • Green – growth, harmony, freshness and fertility. Dark green is associated with money.
  • Blue – depth, stability, trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth and heaven
  • Purple – royalty, power, nobility, luxury and ambition
  • White – light, goodness, innocence, purity and virginity
  • Black – power, elegance, formality, death, evil and mystery

You can see by some of the contradictory meanings, that context is important also. But, make no mistake, color can be very important in your marketing. In study called “Impact of Color in Marketing”, researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone, depending on the product.

And, the study “Exciting Red and Competent Blue” confirms that intent to purchase is greatly affected by colors due to the impact they have on how a brand is perceived.

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I attended a breakfast presentation last week and the speaker was Todd Henry, author of “Louder Than Words”. He was a great speaker and I’m looking forward to reading his book over the next few weeks.

So much of what he spoke on was about being authentic. Not just in your personal life, but in your work life as well. Authenticity applies to companies, as well as to the people who work in those companies. And, many of his comments caused me to think.

At Multi-Craft, we started as a small printing company, but when the internet first appeared, we felt it would impact our business. At the time, we weren’t sure if that impact would be positive or negative – just that it would change us. So, we began that journey of change, which continues to this day.

We’ve always been okay with change. In fact, we tell new employees that if they aren’t receptive to change, we probably aren’t the ideal employer for them. This attitude has served us well.

I believe we began this cycle of change long before most of our competitors did, which, in my opinion, makes us authentic. In fact, I would get upset when I felt another organization was imitating us, and it would cause me to want to keep moving forward and staying in the forefront. While imitation is a compliment, it should also spur us onward to bigger and better things.

Sitting at this presentation last week, I felt such great pride in our organization and the people who work there. Recently, one of our managers asked if I would be receptive to her developing a new program for a certain segment of our customer base. She had seen an unmet need and a potential new revenue stream. She had taken the initiative and the time to develop an outline of what that new program would look like, and was willing to present that plan. Now, that’s authentic – and creative! It also shows her vision and leadership skills.

Isn’t that what all of us want? Don’t we want to work for organizations that appreciate our creative ideas and efforts? Don’t we want to feel that we’re making a positive impact daily? Don’t we want to lead companies that are full of people like our manager? I think we all want that. Those that seem to fall short, may not be falling short for any other reason than they work for organizations that squelch their ideas, or don’t appreciate their creativity and authenticity.

So, today, as I write this blog, I’d like to dedicate it to all of the authentic employees at Multi-Craft. Thank you for your creativity, authenticity, willingness to adapt and change, and the bravery you exhibit when you’re willing to put yourself and your ideas out there for others to hear. Thank you for choosing to work here and be a part of our team! Don’t ever stop innovating, thinking or creating. It’s because of you that we succeed!

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