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The Water Crossing

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Do you ever feel like this, a herd of animals rushing to cross the water? You are in such a hurry, driven by instincts and madness, it’s your turn to jump in. To the left you see another member of your herd being trampled, they stumbled and none of the other animals waited or tried to help him get up. To the right out of the corner of your eye you see five or six massive crocodiles picking members of the herd off one by one. Your’e frozen with fear, but the fear of being trampled and not following the crowd is even greater, so you jump in and start kicking as fast and as hard as you can to get to the other side. Whack, the animal in front of you kicks you in the face as they too are frantically kicking to get to the other side, you feel your nose start to bleed and you hope it doesn’t make you a target by the crocodiles patiently waiting on both sides. As you get to the middle of the river you can no longer touch the bottom, but you gain some confidence as you tell yourself you are half way there, just keep kicking, you can do this. 

Screaming, that is all that can be heard now, the animal in front of you is in a fight for it’s life, a crocodile has him by the leg. Not sure whether to help, you again become paralyzed with fear, but you keep kicking. Finally you can touch the bottom again now, and the other bank is within feet of being reached, safety, food, calm, all within your grasp. 

Pulling yourself up on the bank into safety now, you take a look behind you, you see nothing but chaos, the chaos you just survived, and as you look to your right you notice something that shocks you. About 50 yards up stream, there is one lone member of the pack, he has yet to cross the river like you just did, but you can see as he begins his decent down the bank and into the water he is calm, taking his time, no crocodiles even notice him as they are all focused on the chaos at hand. He walks up the other side of the bank, unscathed, and as you look down into the grass you see nothing but bright red, your own blood that is dripping from your nose.

Now I am sure if you invested in Facebook’s stock when they first offered you feel exactly like this, bought into the hype and now feeling the punches! 🙂 However, if you are in the publishing industry you probably feel like this every day.

I pads and tablets will kill prints experts are screaming, the herd rushes to cross the river to get to the other side. Postage, fuel, and paper costs are on the rise, the herd rushes to cross the river to get to the other side. I have to reduce my costs, I am losing advertisers, subscribers, members, the herd rushes to cross the river to get to the other side. By this time the crocodiles, the trampling of each other has threatened the herd close to extinction, and then you realize your fear has become the greatest enemy to you. Your nose is bloody, but when looking over your shoulder you see a select few that crossed the river once, and they are far in front of you, calm, safe, and full.

I recently had the privilege and honor to have the opportunity to attend as well as speak at the National Plant Summit. This was a convention that my client, The American Rose Society, hosted several horticulture societies across the country to discuss their ailments, successes, and band together to help one another. By realizing they needed to come together to ensure their future, they took the first steps into the river, not following the herd of chaos in front of them, but far away from the danger. 

While speaking at this Summit, I had many things I wanted to say, but as I listened to them speak I decided to throw away my notes. My notes originally were the different in house capabilities, customer service, and quality the printer I work for possesses. Sure we have that, but then I thought to myself “How many times have these guys heard exactly that same thing by five other printers that called them last week?” They didn’t want to hear that stuff, and to be quite frank I didn’t want to talk about that either. They had me inspired, and I too wanted to get out of the chaos of the constant water crossing, so I went with what I felt in my gut, the truth. 

As I began, I stated what my old boss always said to me “Business is supposed to make sense, and be fun!” If you are losing money on your international subscribers or members, then why send magazines to them? Instead, only offer them a digital magazine, but utilize a digital magazine that has translation software so that they can read it in their own language and enhance your readership in that country. 

If you offer a digital magazine that is readily available on your website for all to view at no cost, while charging for a subscription to your printed version, then ask yourself what you are saying about the content you are putting out there. Is it the content or the vehicle you utilize to distribute the content that you are charging for? De-commoditize yourselves! Offer a few teaser pages of your digital magazine, if they want to see more then they must subscribe. Are you charging more for advertisers to be represented in your digital magazine? Would you charge them to have a banner on your website? Then why wouldn’t this added benefit of being represented on your website via a digital magazine be of value?

Invest and re invent yourselves, never stop trying to become better at what you do. Whether that is looking at re designing the image of your publication after 10 or 15 years of having the same look, upgrading the quality of your printed publication, utilizing a digital publication that offers rich media, developing an app for the i pad/ smart phones, or simply engaging your followers on social media there are many ways to do this. Do this out of wanting to invest in your future, not out of fear for your future. 

There are so many multi channels of marketing to take advantage of now. It will continue to grow, technology is here to stay. It doesn’t make your publication any less relevant, and sure there is more white noise than ever before to fight through, but not following the chaos to get to the other side of the river and instead banding together will ensure your success. Print, digital, social media, and yes even radio are still alive and can all come together.

I implore you all to never forget this one last thing, talk, not type, put it on your schedule once a week to talk to one another!

June 10, 2012 Posted by | Catalogs, Digital Magazine, flipbook, Printing, Publishing, Sales, Social Media | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Time to Realize Value

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“You can hate me, choose not to work with me anymore, that’s ok, but I have to say this guys” my Father In Law, Jeff Zuelke (whom we call PJ which stands for Papa Jeff), said as he took on a more serious look than his normal natural easy-going and fun ways.

I shot a quick look at my wife, then at my four-year old son, concern grew through me as I knew he had something very important to say.

“I need you to start seeing the value in these homes I am showing you. I am taking on a completely different message from my prior stance of, be comfortable with your decision” he paused  “to see value in your decision,” PJ said now waiting for our reaction.

At first I was a bit taken back, why would that statement make me angry? Why would that make me want to fire my father in law as our real estate agent? It didn’t, but I wasn’t sure what he was getting at so I filled the air with “Well PJ, I know we lost on three homes now, but I don’t think I would have been comfortable going any higher than we did,” he stopped me right there after those words escaped my lips.

“Noah, if I could show you how to take a dollar and make it into a $1.30 or even $1.50 within five years, wouldn’t that be of VALUE to you?” I nodded my head to agree “Then Noah, the three homes we lost on, there was value to them. You made a decision based on being comfortable, and we lost. The value is, that those homes would have had a significant return on your investment in the very short-term, even if they were a bit more than what you were comfortable with.”

Before you all start shaking your head and saying “yeah right, what housing market is this guy in?” keep in mind the majority of the homes we have been looking at are short sales and very good deals to be had!

PJ was right, I was still kicking myself over the last bid war we lost on, but I was caught up in nickle and diming and feeling like I got the best price possible that I completely failed to realize that even at full purchase price the house was still a great deal because it had value…..unfortunately someone else was able to see that, and we lost out on the house.

This entire time PJ was waiting for me to come to this resolve myself, but when he saw that I was getting too caught up in “best price possible” and not seeing turning a dollar into a $1.30, he knew he had to say something.

That very moment, as we walked out of the house we were viewing, I came to a stark realization, I was a hypocrite! I have been through so many bid processes for catalogs, brochures, and especially magazines as of late only to have lost it by a very slim amount (sometimes more, sometimes less) that I don’t understand it as I am confident I have shown the Publisher or Print Purchaser how working with us will change a dollar into a $1.30.

I understand it now, sometimes we all get polarized by the day to day events of our lives, the economy we live in, or just trying to get the best deal possible and nickle and diming everything they can.

Friends, I come to you today to repeat a message my Father In Law, Jeff Zuelke, said to me this very night……” I am taking on a very different tone with you, you can hate me, choose not to work with me, that is fine, but it needs to be said. It is time to start making decisions because they hold value, not because you are comfortable or because they are the cheapest deal.”

In the end, when you find a printer that shows you value, you will be very comfortable. Consulting on digital, print, and advertising vehicles, not leaving once the sale is made, establishing relationships, friends, is their value you to that? If so, don’t be like me and realize it before it is too late!

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Books, Catalogs, Digital Magazine, Mailing, Printing, Publishing, Relationships, Sales, Social Media, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Staying Power?

In the printing and publishing industry we talk alot about whether magazines and the like will be sticking around, and if so, at what capacity? I truly believe the honest answer to this is that there are so many different mediums now days that the consumers can choose to interact with your publication/message, that  it is bound to shrink. With that said, I do believe that printing is not going anywhere, and in fact will become more specialized, meaning higher quality products will be a must in the near future in order to compete.

With that said, one printed product that I truly believe is not going anywhere, and in fact will grow, are marketing collateral products. (ie literature, brochures, catalogs, postcards, direct mailers, and the like).

“Yeah right Noah, I can create a Facebook page, LinkedIn page, Twitter Page, to market my business and not have to pay a thing!” Ok their guy, take a look at this years sales amount and compare it to last years when you abandoned printing all together..what did it cost you?

Here is why I believe this:

1.

I was watching a news cast the other night, I can’t remember if it was 60 Minutes or something else. They were doing a feature on people ordering products online, thinking it was the authentic product, but when the product came to their house, it was a fake. They were using Rosetta Stone as an example, and spot lighted several people that thought they were ordering the authentic Rosetta Stone software to only find out they were duped.

The news cast then went on to interview the CEO of Rosetta Stone, and he showed the news anchor 100’s of different websites using the Rosetta Stone name, and some even using his image on their website. How the heck would a consumer know the difference? They wouldn’t, even the CEO himself admitted that. So my point, where is the credibility and trust? Print is still the most credible marketing/advertising vehicle out there, and think about how that plays back to your brand……

2.

It has staying power. If I see something online that I like, the chances of me finding it next week when I am ready to purchase it seem to be slim. If I want to find out more about you next week I don’t want to jump on my computer to read about you, I want to lay on my couch and hold a physical printed product in my hands that allows me to see what you do. If I am interested, then I will jump on the internet and find out more about you! If I am not ready to partake in what you have to offer, I will hold on to it. Chances are, within the next several months, your catalog, brochure, etc will catch my eye as it sits on my counter top and I will be interested as I am now ready.

3.

People love to receive things. I have to admit this, and you can try to deny it all you want, but you know it’s true! When I receive a message in my email box trying to solicit me something, the first thing I do is “delete”. However, when I receive something in my mail box at home, I can’t get rid of it even if I wanted to!

My son Owyn (4 years old) loves to get the mail, in fact he calls it “his job”. The bills and letters come to me, the solicitations he waits patiently for as I hand them to him. He loves mail, doesn’t matter what it is, it makes him feel special like someone is writing to him. I found myself the other day going through his shoe box of stashed mail, and there were actually really great offers that I am now researching and willing to find out more about. I then realized, I too love to get mail!! (Trust me, this isn’t a shameless plug for the USPS, I don’t have alot of love for them, they need to get their act together, but the fact remains, everyone likes to receive something!

I chose the image I did of the baby, because it goes to show you how many businesses are out their fighting for your attention, and that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. The image has staying power, images in print have even more staying power, and credibility. Don’t take my word for it, just turn on the news!

February 26, 2012 Posted by | Books, Catalogs, Mailing, Printing, Publishing, Relationships, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Flipping For Flipbooks!

What’s going on with flipbook frenzy!?! I LOVE it! Whomever was the first person to do this, please accept my high five, and give yourself a pat on the back!

First, what do I mean by a flipbook? The magazine you love and can’t wait to for it to show up in your mailbox finally arrives! You begin reading it, get through about half, then all of a sudden the pages become upside down….or flipped! You look up, and see you are still standing on your feet, and think to yourself ” What an error the printer made!” You quickly call up the Publisher’s office, “Hello, I got my magazine, but at page 96 all the pages are upside down, can you send me a new one? What’s that you say? Flip the magazine over?” You slam the phone down before you can tell them your name, now feeling your cheeks getting quite rosey from feeling a bit embarrassed. You see there are two magazines in one. One side, which you thought was the front cover, was the normal magazine you were used to, when you flip it over and see the back side, it too has a front cover featuring the night life of your city. Now your cheeks are getting rosey again…..not because of embarrassment, because of all the nightlife scenes you realize you haven’t taken advantage of yet!

I don’t know if the official term is a flipbook, but thats what we call it over at JB Kenehan. If you want to see a sample of one, contact me and I’ll send you one no strings attached.

Here are some ideas of how you can take advantage of a flipbook:

  • If your city regional magazine, and typically cover the lifestyle of your city in your publication, now you can expand to cover the night scene, restaurant scene, gardening scene etc…
  • If you are a musical publication, and typically cover one genre of music, now you can expand to other genres, or musical styles.
  • If you are an association publication, you can still cover information pertinent to your association, but on the flip side, cover members and what they are up to.

The ideas are endless for you! Here are some of the benefits of a flipbook:

  • Increase your readership! With new content you will expand into new markets that may not have found your publication before.
  • Increase your advertising! With new content, you will be able to show advertisers why they should advertise in your publication. This opens up a whole new market of advertisers to attack!
  • Increased page counts! New content, new advertisers, means a thicker publication!
  • Low Costs! You had been thinking about starting up a new magazine to supplement your publication, but were afraid of the additional costs. Now there is no additional Make Ready costs, no additional mailing, and don’t need to worry about making a page count for it to make sense economically for you!
  • Diversity! Allows you the opportunity to diversify your publication and keep it cutting edge and new….which will keep the readers and advertisers coming back!

These are only some of the many advantage of a flipbook. Worried about creating one? Don’t worry! Just create the publication like you typically would, we at JB Kenehan will “flip” it for you at the page number you tell us.

It’s simple, beneficial, and will increase the diversity of your market, which will only lead to your long term success!

So start flipping today and join the flipbook nation!

 Here is a short video with an example of a flipbook for your viewing…Enjoy! : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNnIbqWZ3eY

April 17, 2011 Posted by | Books, Catalogs, flipbook, Paper, Printing, Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Paper Reduce Deforestation?YES!

 

Disclaimer: This was not meant as a blog post, this was a paper I wrote for a college course….it is very long, but well worth the read!

How many times have you received an email from someone, and at the bottom of that email it says “before you print this email, think about the environment?”  I get these e-mails every day, several times a day, from people all over the country, and I am sure you do too. Maybe you are even one of these people that have it saved as a signature to your email? The reason behind the perception here is that by reducing our usage of paper, we believe that we will be doing our part to reduce deforestation and save trees worldwide. Now, what if I was to tell you that by not using paper, you are effectively speeding up the process of deforestation? Would you think twice about hitting print then? Would you look beyond all the propaganda to see what it truly means to be green? Or would you just laugh and delete these facts from your computer screen because they can’t possibly be true?

            Everyone has their own definition of what it is to be “green” from purchasing a hybrid car, recycling more, down to carpooling. Surely, by not using paper you will be able to save trees, which can only be good for the environment, right? Well think about this, if that land is no longer used to responsibly harvest trees, then someone else is going to use it to make a profit in some other shape or form such as land development. Then, think about all the parts that go into a computer, you begin to wonder, is it really more environmentally friendly to campaign against the use of paper? Once you see the facts regarding paper use, my hopes are that you will see that using paper actually helps to responsibly maintain our forestland.

            Forests in the United States cover the same amount of our landscape today as they have for the past 100 years. In fact, today the U.S has 20% more trees than it did 25 years ago (http://www.afandpa.org/forestry.aspxid=406&linkidentifier=id&itemid=406). However, population growth, and changes in ownership of the forestland could drastically alter the landscape in the next few decades. More than 1/3 (750 million acres) of the United States is covered in forestland. Of that, 56% is owned by private owners, for example, commercial or family owned lands. Of that privately helped forestland, a recent survey by the USDA has shown that 25% of these owners plan on transferring or selling the land rights.(http://www.internationalpaper.com/apps/gopaper/ownership.html) So what’s the problem with this scenario? Why is this a growing trend now? The answer lies in the landowner’s profits.  Profits now have been drastically reduced with the campaigning to phase out paper.  Reduced profits means that if there is less money to be made by these private land owners, they will look to selling the land to developers, and selling the land to developers means massive amounts of forestland being destroyed…permanently!

Environmental Issues

            What can be the harm if we lost 56% of our forestland that is held by private ownership? The losses are huge, 60% of at risk plant and wildlife are associated with our forestland. These species of wildlife and plant life would go from being at risk, to protected, in a few short years. This is also so important because one acre of forestland alone produces enough oxygen to support eighteen people annually. Two thirds of our natural water resources flow from our forestlands, the better maintained the land the less polluted the water.(http://www.internationalpaper.com/apps/gopaper/ownership.html) The private landowners are the keepers of the ecosystem, as well as our natural resources, and the profits from trees allow them to maintain the land as it should be. At the current rate of deforestation in the rain forest, there will be no rain forest left  100 years from now.(http://www.buzzle.com/articles/causes-and-effects-of-deforestation.html) Domestically, 56% of the forestland is owned by private land owners, and of that amount, 25% plan to sell the land to urban developers or utilize it for agriculture or commercial developments that will yield higher profits instead of allowing paper mills to manage the forests responsibly.http://www.internationalpaper.com/apps/gopaper/ownership.html)

So what happens with the loss of all of this forestland? First and foremost, the ecosystem will be completely destroyed. With over 70% of plant and animal life living in forests, hundreds if not thousands of plant and animal life will be endangered or completely lost. It will be highly unlikely that they will be able to recover at the rate we are cutting down our trees and utilizing the land for development. Second, deforestation impacts our climate. Leaves and canopies protect the forest floor from harmful sun rays, and without them the soil will quickly dry up killing all plant life. In addition, trees help perpetuate water vapor back into the atmosphere. Without forests, the land would become much like a desert, and temperature swings will be very severe. Next, trees absorb carbon monoxide (CO2) and emit oxygen into the atmosphere. Remember, one single acre of forestland emits enough oxygen to sustain 18 people every year. In addition, trees catch and provide us with millions of gallons of clean rain water every year. Less trees means less natural clean rain water for our usage.(http://www.buzzle.com/articles/causes-and-effects-of-deforestation.html)

A recent study, done by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland showed that greenhouse gas emissions produced by a single newspaper during its entire life cycle correspond to a car journey of approximately one kilometer. The carbon footprint of a book bought from a store is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of a car journey of approximately 7 kilometers. The carbon footprint of an annual volume of weekly magazines is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of a journey of 45 kilometres by a car. The carbon footprint of a book is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of a journey about 7 kilometres by a car. The contribution of newspapers, books, and other paper products to the climate impacts of consumption by Finnish households in 2005 was small (approximately 1%). The biggest climate impacts of consumption by Finnish households were attributable to housing (28%), food products (16%), and transport (13%). The most efficient way to reduce environmental impacts is to lower the consumption of energy and fuels at different stages of the life cycle. Other important ways to reduce environmental impacts include reducing the amount of raw materials and using materials more efficiently. (http://www.ceepackaging.com/2011/03/24/print-contributes-little-to-carbon-footrpint/)

Social Issues

The perception that paper mills are the ones to blame, and that by stamping out the usage of paper is going to make a positive difference in the environment is simply wrong. In the Amazon alone, 60-70% of deforestation takes place due to ranchers. In the U.S., between now and the year 2030, 57 million acres of forestland are expected to be destroyed as to see an increase in housing.( http://www.buzzle.com/articles/causes-and-effects-of-deforestation.html) Currently, many urban developers are seeking to clear out forests to make growth for communities, use raw materials for building houses and furniture. Other economic reasons for deforestation here in the United States are agricultural in nature in efforts to allow the indigenous people’s cattle to roam and feed, or to plant crops that yield higher profits. With either of these situations, the trees are not being re- planted and the land is being converted for other uses.  All the signs point to the use of agriculture, urban development, and not properly managing forestland by using improper techniques such as clear cutting.

Economic Issues

The forest products industry accounts for approximately 5 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP. Industry companies produce about $175 billion in products annually and employ nearly 900,000 men and women, exceeding employment levels in the automotive, chemicals and plastics industries. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 48 states. With less paper being used, means less demand, which also equates to the loss of jobs of one of the biggest manufacturing markets in our country.( http://www.afandpa.org/ourindustry.aspx?id=35)

Opponents of paper usage will claim that to produce paper requires too much energy. This is simply not true, in the US paper mills are the largest consumer and producer of renewable energy. Working in this field as a printer, we too benefit from this as we utilize our paper mills renewable energy whenever possible. Paper can be used over and over again, as it is an infinitely renewable resource, and is very easily recyclable. To put things into perspective better, think about technology today, with a new version of the latest computer, cell phone, etc. coming out every year and being purchased by consumers rapidly, you have to ask yourself what happens to the old equipment? People throw it away to get the next latest and greatest consumer product. One must then consider all the input and output that goes into making these devices, where they end up, and how often they are actually reusable and if they are, are they actually being reused?  Right now, 3.2 million tons of electronic trash is dumped into our landfills every year. Compared to paper, with more states setting up recycling programs at local levels throughout, 89% of newspapers, 72% of boxes, and 66% of office paper is being recycled right now and with increased awareness regarding this issue we will reach the high 90 percentiles in just a few short years. (http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/paper/faqs.htm)

The key to all of this is sustainability, responsibility, accountability and proper knowledge. With many watch dog agencies like that of the FSC, Rain Forest Alliance, Sustainable Forest Initiative, and many more, there has been a standard created for land owners, paper mills, and printers to follow. Over 25% of private land owners carry a certification from one of these watch dog agencies that ensures trees are replanted (paper mills re plant 3-4 times more trees than they cut down), paper waste is recycled, and renewable resources are utilized.(http://www.internationalpaper.com/apps/gopaper/ownership.html)

So What’s The Issue?

When it comes right down to it, it’s the perception of the people regarding the use of paper that needs to change. All too often we listen to what we hear on television, we then quickly and easily allow this information to become “fact”.  The challenge here is to think about deforestation critically, and to see the issue from all sides in an unbiased manner. We see a tree being cut down for our use, and immediately we believe if we no longer use the product that the tree is being harvested for, the trees will be saved. Think of the opportunity cost of harvesting trees by paper mills. If there are no profits to be had, then the land will be used in another way in order to gain profits, all which lead to no trees being re planted what so ever.

We are all correct in believing that deforestation is a major problem, not only locally, but also globally. The best way to combat deforestation is to ensure the people that make a profit off the land continue to protect their profits by responsibly using, and replanting the trees. This only makes good business sense, should there no longer be a channel to reap the profits of their labor, its only common sense that they look at the next best thing. In most cases, this will be to sell the land to an urban developer, or use the land for agricultural issues. In both cases, we lose critical habitat and no re planting is done.

Now that the issue of using paper is clarified there is more work to be done. The first step is to re brand paper products as the only infinite renewable source in the world, which it is. The second step is to produce the facts for the real reasons of deforestation, and with that comes a responsibility to manage our forests before it is too late and urban developers have created new cities and homes to be moved in to. Last we need a call to the people to look beyond the surface, and dig deeper into the problem to find the true reasons for the problem in order to find the right solution.

The true solution, recycle! That is where the emphasis needs to be put, not on attacking paper which will only put thousands of people out of work, increase deforestation, and hurt our environment the most. It is important to remember all things are linked together, if we take away paper, we will see all of these statistics drastically reduced, which will only lead to more job losses:

  • Recycling creates 1.1 million U.S. jobs, $236 billion in gross annual sales and $37 billion in annual payrolls.
  • Public sector investment in local recycling programs pays great dividends by creating private sector jobs. For every job collecting recyclables, there are 26 jobs in processing the materials and manufacturing them into new products.
  • Recycling creates four jobs for every one job created in the waste management and disposal industries.

(http://www.recycling-revolution.com/recycling-benefits.html)

As you can see, if we follow the crumb trail, not using paper will devastate our economy and environment. Socially, we all need to make a change and take it upon ourselves to look beyond the rhetoric to get to the true source.

April 15, 2011 Posted by | Books, Catalogs, Paper, Printing, Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Wonderful World of Catalogs!

“Honey, have you seen the IKEA catalog? I swear I left it right there on the coffee table” my wife said with her finger extended towards the table sitting in the middle of the room. Fighting back my dimples from showing (she knows I am fibbing when my dimples show) “No honey, I haven’t seen it.”

She walked out of the room, I thought I had finally won! I threw that catalog away, and wasn’t about to tell her! For the past few weeks, new items have been showing up at our doorstep, and from where?, you guessed it, from IKEA! It’s not that we don’t need these things, we do, especially with a newborn on the way, but I was just afraid this would continue to happen once we had all the things we needed.

“Oh well” my wife said as she walked back into the room, “I found this Target catalog I got last month.”

I am thinking many of you can relate to this! 🙂 So what’s the point?

Recently I have taken on a massive research of catalogs. The main point of this is to see how many are now PDF or digital only. All in all, I went through about 1,500 company websites that either print a catalog, or had printed a catalog and now only have a digital version. Of those I went through, about 15% were now digital,and typically only a PDF was posted on the websites. I was surprised by this information, but I also understood it. (Disclaimer, the above percentage may not represent all catalogs throughout the entire market, this is only my own research). By saying I understand these results, what I mean is I understand increasing paper and postage costs, as well as the overhead and time involved with printing and mailing catalogs has.

However, I have come across several sources showing that a printed catalog not only increases your sales, it also increases traffic to your website. Some sources have sighted an increase of 84% all the way up to as much as a double in your profits, so although there are some mixed messages, the fact is that it is proven to increase profitability and here is why:

  • Longevity- If you noticed, I had mentioned my wife found a catalog she got from Target a month ago. Just because we don’t order something right away, doesn’t mean we are never going to order something. Having the catalog on hand allowed us to pick what we wanted when we wanted.
  • Increase Brand Awareness- By receiving your catalog, if you were to call me, send me a piece of direct mail, or if I come across your store, the chances of me opening your mail, taking your call, or stopping in your store would be much higher because I already know who you are.
  • Convenient- I no longer have to call your toll-free number or get up and get on the internet to order your products out of a catalog. Make it easy for me, put a QR code on your catalog so I scan it with my phone and I can order the product from the convenience of my couch or while I am waiting for my flight in the airport.
  • Tier your mailings- Here is a cost savings tip. Instead of holding the inventory which takes up storage, and then mailing each catalog as a new mail order comes in tier them. Let’s say you print 45,000 catalogs, then do three mailings per year or whatever your heart desires. Why? We at JB Kenehan have storage space to hold these for you, in addition, we can handle each tiered mailing for you so it isn’t taking up time out of your day.
  • Pass Along Rates- Printed pieces have a valuable function, they have pass along rates. So although you may send your catalog to my household, my mother is at our house at least once a week (seriously, ask my wife!) and she too looks at our catalogs. I know this isn’t unique only to our household.
  • Less Cluttered- While going through a digital catalog or PDF, I couldn’t help but to feel overwhelmed with all the information. It seemed very cluttered, while in a printed catalog I can easily find what I am looking for.
  • Get me Excited!- Throw in a tag or augmented reality code next to some of the products that I can scan with my smart phone. If you are an outdoors retailer, put a tag next to a tent and show me the easiest way to set the tent up so I feel more comfortable purchasing it (because you are making me look like a rockstar and manly man in front of my family!). If I am looking through a food catalog, take me to a video of how I can use the product in recipes etc…the ideas are endless!

Now I am not saying abandon your digital reproduction of your catalog, but what I am saying is, do not abandon your printed catalog. Although it hurts me to say that (well it hurts the pocket-book anyway) whether it is a B2B or B2C, whether you are a major brand or a less known brand, a printed catalog will only increase your profitability and awareness.

April 2, 2011 Posted by | Catalogs, Mailing, Printing, Publishing, QR Codes, Sales | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment