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Printing – 5th Generation 32 GB

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” I had a really good summer, my internship went amazing and they even said they would hire me on once I finish school this year! I was able to increase their Facebook page “likes” from 100 to 250 in one summer and they were amazed at how well I did!” I over heard the young student sitting next to me on the airplane enthustiastically telling her friend sitting in the window seat next to her as I flipped the physical piece of paper to get to the next page in the book I was reading, “Inferno” by Dan Brown.

 

My ears were a little more open now as I tried to mask my eavesdropping on their conversation by continuing to flip through the pages of the book, although my eyes no longer saw the words printed within. Their conversation went on about their internships, how much they missed each other, and most of all how they should keep in touch more with one another on Facebook. My mind began to drift, and I got lost in thought no longer paying attention to their conversation, but instead thinking about the current landscape and future of printing as well as publishing/print buying.

 

Undoubtedly, the landscape has changed since 2008 when the economy took the biggest hit since The Great Depression. In addition, the print market was under the pressure of increasing paper prices, increasing postage costs and postal regulations, and new technologies like digital magazines, Ipods, and Ipads (and other e-readers) were introduced to the market. People began to scream at the top of their lungs “death to the printer” and a massive panic swept through the market. Words like “integrated marketing provider” and “communications provider” were now commonly used among printers to describe themselves eager to hide the word “print” from their company name and services they offer. 

Fast forward to 2013, some printers have consolidated, some have gone out of business, and some have continued to grow. Sure, we have seen the most changes and adversity since film became a thing of the past and all pre press work flow went to CTP (I was still in high school when that happened). The publisher that went out of print and completely digital is now out of business, because like so many other publishers, they haven’t figured out how to effectively sell advertising into their digital magazine nor produce the conversion results their advertisers are looking for. The business with the catalog that stopped printing and instead threw up a PDF of the catalog onto their website now is scratching their head as to why their sales have dipped so much even though they were able to eliminate print and mailing costs. They begin to realize why, and rush back to print much like the way I run towards my children and wife eagerly awaiting me at the airport terminal after a business trip.

We are in a new genre of printers, publishers, and print buyers, what I call the 5th generation 32 GB. The printer has become the 32 GB needing as much storage as possible to provide all the multi faceted channels to distribute their client’s message via digital magazines, app creation, PURL’s, print and much more. As well, we are in a new generation of Print Buyers, what I call the 5th Generation. Most Print Buyers are not “print specific” for their organizations, but instead purchase a multitude of products and have become younger as well as prefer to communicate over email rather than on a phone call. The 5th Generation and the 32 GB correlate with one another, need one another, and become successful together. Ink, Paper, Distribution, Mailing, Digital Reproduction – They are all stored within my 32 GB, and the young or older buyer has access to every single piece of education, opportunity, and consultation. Service, Consulting, Honesty, and Creative Ideas, are what I promise you, the goal always being to have your organization tell YOU “You did an awesome job on that project, here’s a bigger project, I have the TRUST in you to knock this out of the park too!” It’s not about the ink on paper, Closed Loop Color Control systems are common place on presses which eliminate printing errors for the most part. Becoming “green friendly” is common place amongst printers with most being FSC, Soy Ink, and or Rain Forest Alliance certified as well as offering a wide variety of paper choices with recycled content such as JB Kenehan does. (not trying to down play the importance of consisten print quality or being environmentally friendly here). So what’s it all about? Knowing you will not have to babysit your provider, knowing your provider has provided the most cost efficient ideas, knowing they are going to meet your deadlines, and above all else having TRUST in your sales rep to provide you the 32 GB of education to allow you to shine like the brightest star. TRUST. SERVICE.

 

With so much change and adapting in the past 4-5 years, the coming year(s) are looking like that of being in the eye of the tornado, calm, but will the tornado return back to the heavens or will we need to enter the other side clutching one another to get through another storm? 

 

I un-buckled the seat belt as we now had landed and pulled into the terminal. As I stood up, I reached down and grabbed my brief case under the seat in front of me, opened it and pulled out a magazine. I turned to the young college student who was still sitting in her seat, and handed her the magazine ” Here, if they hire you on full time or if you have an internship with another organization place an ad in print. You will increase the “likes” on their Facebook page 10 fold, and you will look like the rock star you so deserve to be, TRUST me.”

 

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September 8, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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

Today I Make a Come Back…….

Hello My Friends,

You know that small voice in your head that says ” Oh, don’t worry, you can do it tomorrow,” then tomorrow comes and that same voice pops in and says “What’s one more day going to hurt?” then the next thing you know it’s a week, month, year later!

Today I am taking that voice by the neck, taking all of my 245 lbs and stomping on it, then signing it up for the next polar plunge, tying an anchor to it, and tossing it into the frigid waters of Wisconsin! (excuse my language ladies and gentleman).

Procrastination, take it completely out of your vocabulary, because as of today I no longer understand that word, I am making my come back to blogging and conquering some goals that I have had set for a long time!

I am not going to start my come back to blogging with a blog about the print industry, although I will get back to that as alot has changed, but today I will be talking about a bigger cause that will change lives.

My wife, Ashley Knoble (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ashley-knoble/35/580/1a3) has taken on a massive undertaking by running for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Woman of the Year. I won’t get into too much of the specifics of it, but basically our babysitter (pictures below on the right with my wife), while a junior in high school fought and beat Hodgkins Lymphoma. With this inspiration, and the support of Christine Schmieden (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/christine-schmieden/5/7a5/598), Bob Wydra (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/robert-wydra/30/a4a/307) and myself (along with many others that have offered to help) will be fundraising from March until June 1st.

You can find more information about the campaign by going here, and while there please make sure to like the page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Campaigning-for-a-Cure-Team-Ashley/297181033652537

There are some really great prizes to be won such as Diamond Earrings from Diamond Nexus Labs, Channing Tatum autographed pictures, and an electric guitar donated by Echo Park Guitars just to mention a few of the things…..

If you would like to be part of the campaign, want to find out more about how you can contribute or be involved please do not hesitate to get in contact with me!

In the mean time, so you all can hold me accountable that procrastination is completely out of my vocabulary (and please call me on it if I don’t reach one of my goals) here are my goals:

1. Blog at least once a week.

2. Post a status update on LinkedIn three times a week

3. Help my wife win Woman of the Year and fundraise like crazy

4. Become more politically involved

5. Be the best father and husband I can be!

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February 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What my graduation taught me about technology!

Tassle on the left side check, ok Noah, remember, take diploma with left hand shake with the right hand, don’t fall, don’t walk too fast.

“Melissa Karger, summa cum laude” the speakers boomed through the auditorium, one person left in front of me then it was my turn to step up onto the stage.

Where is my family, man there are alot of people here, why are my hands shaking, oh man I am sweating so bad…. thoughts were running through my mind like a run away freight train.

“Mark Knable” the speakers boomed, I was up next, and then I saw them in the sea of people, my wife and children waving frantically at me as if they had been trying to get my attention for some time. A kiss blown from my wife now landed on my cheek, the look of pride in my childrens eyes filled me with strength, and in that very short moment, my journey to what brought me to this very step flashed before my eyes.

Ten years prior I was a high school graduate beginnig my first semester at college. More scared, and nervous than excited, because unlike many other kids, I had no idea what I wanted to be for the rest of my life. Two years of college, and feeling like I may be the only one at the university without a hint or a clue of what I wanted to do, I dropped out and entered the work force.

There was no going back now, and a few years passed. Feeling the regret of not finishing college, I heard of something I had never heard of before, you can go to college online! Wow, this was new and exciting to me, now having kids and a full time job I may be able still get that degree! Who knew you could go to college online, well it turned out this was something that many colleges had just started expirementing with.

So I jumped at the opportunity, and enrolled with a renewed confidence in knowing where I wanted to go in life. Life was good, and I found a new home with my current employer. I began traveling to meet with people, but dragging these heavy text books and laptop everywhere I went so I didn’t miss an assignment or posting was becoming quite the hassle!

Then came along this wonderful new thing, called a Kindle. I quickly found out that many of my textbooks could be downloaded right to the Kindle itself, making my business trips much less cumbersome. Then another new thing, there was an app for Blackboard (online program) and I could access it from my smart phone (or i pad if I had one) no more lugging around the laptop.

Technology helped me out tremendously, and made my life much more convenient on those trips. Every time I got home though, I always went for the printed textbook, and the laptop.

“Sir” the days and months that just flashed before me were gone and I was again back in the auditorium, “do you pronounce the K in Knoble?” the speaker asked and I shook my head violently yes. “Noah Knoble” boomed the speakers and my name echoed throughout, shake with right grab with the left, check, walking slow, check, smile and breathe….check!

The moral of what college and graduation taught me about technology is that it is very convenient and makes many of our lives much easier. However, it’s also nice just to have the “real thing”  and finding that balance is the key.

Believe me when I say while I was looking at the pride that filled my children’s eyes that day, I too looked back at them with just as much pride in them. Bonds are what hold us together, something physical, but technology will allow us to keep those bonds strong when they eventually reach the day that they hear their name being called through the speakers.

May 15, 2011 Posted by | Publishing, Relationships, Social Media, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who’s in your black box?

Recently I rolled out a new marketing program, and when I received what I had ordered, I had a stunning and embarrassing realization, what I had ordered were too big to fit into the packages we had! If you can’t send them, then what’s the point of having them!

Feeling like Gomer, I sped across the street to Wal-Mart, they had to have the best pricing on the packaging I needed, after all, they are the biggest retailer in the world and their commercials always say, “We’re rolling back prices!” I found the packaging, bought the entire shelf of it without even looking at the price (because they are Wal-Mart, pricing had to be the best), paid, and ran back to the office to start stuffing packages.

Later on that same week, I began running out of the packaging, and needed to purchase more. Just as I was pushing myself out of my chair to run to Wal-Mart, I realized something that made me sit instantly back down. I had a lunch meeting the week prior with a friend of mine, Tim Horton, also a local business owner of Discount Office Items(http://www.discountofficeitems.com/). His words came roaring back into my memory :

“Noah, do you know why people choose to purchase their goods at the largest retailers?” asked Tim.

“Well duh Tim! Because they have the best prices, the smaller retailers just can’t compete” I quickly responded without giving it a second thought.

Tim sat there, a grin began to make its way across his face and as he shook his head he said, “No Noah, it’s because they tell you they have the best prices. It’s the perception that they have built.” and now, these words echoed through me. So I jumped on Tim’s website, found the exact same packaging, saved a significant amount, and even better it was delivered to my doorstep the very next day.

They got into my black box, and I didn’t even know it! What is the “black box”? This is where we as humans make decisions, and is the role of marketers to infiltrate it without us even knowing it to influence our purchasing decisions.

It got me to thinking, do people do this in the publishing and printing industry too?, have their black boxes been infiltrated? I began to evaluate the many phone conversations I have had with publishers and purchasers of print. “Well you can’t co-mail in-house, you are too small for me” said one person. Another said “I print with one of the largest printers in the world, there is no way you can beat their costs.” “You couldn’t possibly match the turn around times I am receiving” yet another proclaimed.

I can tell you today two of the people who made the above statements are now clients. Sure we can’t co-mail in-house, but we do offer co-mail through the worlds largest co- mailer, and how do you know how much savings your printer that co-mails in-house is passing on to you? I am sure your printer has very aggressive rates, why else would you have chosen them? But what can I do to consult with you to help reduce costs even further? I am sure you are receiving great turn around times. But how flexible are they when you might miss a deadline? Will you get bumped? Or will they work with you? Being a medium-sized printer, we are going to work with you and be as flexible as you need us to be!

Just because a company “says so” isn’t good enough, it takes a proactive approach with the willingness to listen to ideas that may be of major benefit to you. Big or small, there is no right or wrong answer, but writing someone off without even giving them a chance makes you wonder, has your black box has been infiltrated , have you been influenced without knowing it?

May 7, 2011 Posted by | Printing, Publishing, Relationships, Sales, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Correct Grain vs Cross Grain

I am going to tell you a little story, and admit to alot of you that I still have alot to learn! 🙂

As many of you know, the company I worked for, Conley Printing, was bought by J.B. Kenehan back in early September. Before, we were primarily a publications printer, and, not to toot my own horn, but this I know alot about. How to beat the USPS, offer econmical paper stocks, and to offer the most efficient way of creating your publication. NOW, our capabilities have vastly opened up, we can do slim jims, digest sized publications and the like because we have sheet fed capabilities and web presses that allow us to be competitive etc… Believe me, my eyes got pretty wide, and needless to say, I was and still am pretty excited about what we can do in house.

With these new capabilities comes a great amount of learning, and believe me, I am still learning! I recently bid on a publication. It was a digest sized publication, (when I say digest sized I am talking about publications that have a smaller trim size like 5 3/8x 8 3/8 etc). Although this was something that I probably wouldn’t have gone after in the past, with our new capabilities I went in confident knowing this was something we can do.

I got the job! I was estatic, busted out my happy dance which is a horrible version of the moon walk (ask any of my co-horts) and began planning. As soon as my boss came in, I ran up to tell him the good news, after listening to me he immediately asked me “Did you bid it cross grain or correct grain?” I looked at him the way a dog looks at you when he is thinking WTF are you talking to me like a baby for with their head titled sideways, (you know what I am talking about). A smile creeped across his face, it was more of a smirk, he could tell I didn’t know what he was talking about. I knew then I was about to be schooled as we walked into his office.

He put two publications on his desk in front of me, one was a signature and the other was a tabloid sized publication. “When we talk about correct grain, we are talking about printing and binding the publication with the grain of the paper,” he said as he opened up the signature sized publication. “Signature publications are typically always correct grain, so this is something you wouldn’t have had to worry about in the past.” Then he opened up the tabloid sized publication, “When we talk about cross grain, we talk about printing and binding the publication against the natural flow of the grain of the paper, tabloids are typically always cross grain on a web press so this is something you wouldn’t have had to worry about in the past.” He pointed towards the spine of the tabloid publication ” Do you see how it is wavy towards the binding, this is called puckering, and happens because the paper is bound cross grain, there is nothing you can do about it.”  Then he went on, “Digest sized publications and slim jims can either be done correct grain or cross grain, but it makes a huge difference in the price, it all depends on what the customer wants.”

I looked like a deer in headlights, and new exactly what he was getting at, was I about to give a client what they were expecting? I ran back to my desk, reviewed the RFQ, and there was no stipulation of cross or correct grain. Then I reviewed my bid, and found out that I had indeed bid the publication cross grain. So I picked up the phone, called the client, and asked them if they had a preference of cross grain or correct grain. I knew that same look on my face earlier when that question was posed to me was now on their face ” Noah, this is the first time we are doing this publication, and the first time we are using this trim size, can you explain to me what the difference is?” How could I blame them for not knowing when I didnt even know? I went on to tell them the differences, the difference in cost, quality, and so on.  Like many publishers in today’s market, they told me they wanted the best quality product for the least amount of cost.

With that, I explained to my boss what they had told me, and we agreed to honor the price for the cross grain, but produce it correct grain. In the end it was all worth it, the client absolutely loved the product, and this is all that truly mattered to us.

So, if you are going out to bid, make sure you are asking for exactly what you have in mind. The last thing any printer wants to do is to give you anything other than what you want. Should you not care about a little “puckering” towards the spine in order to get the best price possible then note it. Should you want the best product possible and are willing to pay more in costs, then you may want to note in your bid to quote correct grain. It all comes down to what fits the equipment which effects the pricing, a good printer should be able to show you all options.

Lucky for me I have an emormous resource of knowledge in printing surrounding me. Not everyone has that, so remember if you are going out to bid, make sure you are getting what you want. Grain isn’t something you only find in your cereal bowl or in a field, it is something that effects the price and look of your publication as well!

FYI ….Here is another blog about correct grain printing that I think you will find explains it more in depth http://www.authorsandspeakersnetwork.com/danpoynter3.html

December 12, 2010 Posted by | Books, Publishing, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Why, So, Serious?

Why So Serious? The last time you heard those words, you were watching “The Dark Knight”. The demented Joker, brilliantly played by Heath Ledger, was describing how he got his facial scars, and you’re just not sure if the story he was telling you was the truth. The Joker’s only goal seemed to be to cause chaos for the city of Gotham.

I know what you’re thinking, “Is this guy a film critic now? What does this have to do with the printing market?”

Think about the chaos in our market right now. How many Jokers can you identify running around attempting to create chaos? Are you still calling for the death of the printer?

The facts have come in, and print is still growing! Sure, technology advancements such as iPad apps, digital magazines and the like should be used to supplement the printed magazine. In the end, print will still be standing. We, too, have found ways to bring the web into print with QR codes and Augmented Reality. We, too, are adapting to the changing market just like any other industry. In the end, the role of the printer may change from someone that puts ink on paper to a full blown marketing provider, but we still will be printing! In fact, printers will fill a more important role for publishers than ever before, and a printed product, you will see that it will be just as relevant as ever before!

Like Batman, we are here to stop the spreading of chaos and to show you why we are so serious: because we are here for you and we are not going anywhere. Our roles have been expanded and we realize that, but like any great superhero with a worthy villain, we are up for the challenges that lie ahead.

September 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This weekend is about YOU!

The first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5th 1882 in New York City, but was not recognized as a national holiday until declared so by President Grover Cleveland in 1894. Since that time, this day has been a celebration of generations of American workers like you.

Our economy has seen better days, companies have had to reduce staff, and all of you are being asked to take on more. We are all doing what is necessary to “weather” the storm, but we all know that this too shall pass. Ask yourself, “Why do we KNOW this too shall pass?” You will quickly find yourself remembering the generations that have came before us, and know through hard work, community, and a sense of pride we are America.

Let this year be the happiest, most celebrated, relaxed, and fun celebration of Labor Day since 1894 because you deserve it. I only have one rule for you to follow, let there be no labor on Labor Day!

Have a great Labor Day weekend, hope you all take the time to relax and just enjoy yourself. Let this day be about you and your families…… oh and great food (brats and hamburgers here I come!)

September 2, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Me and My Magic 8 Ball Foretell the Future!

Being on the front lines, and speaking with publishers across America every day I hear a resounding question, “When do you think this recession is going to end?” I asked my magic eight ball a couple of times, the first time was “the outlook is good” which gave me great optimism. So I decided to make sure the magic 8 ball was right and try it again, this time it said “Very Doubtful”. I was just about to throw the 8 ball out the window, when I thought, “Well 2 out of 3 times isn’t so bad!”  So I shook it one last time and asked it the same question, it said, “Reply hazy. Try again”. The fact of the matter is nobody knows. I say, let the experts speculate on CNN, FOX, and MSNBC, let us not focus on waiting for the recession to end, but rather prospering without doubt. Make this the day that you say, “I will no longer use the recession as an excuse”.

 With that in mind, I called up a client and friend of mine, James Jiskra, to ask how he has prospered not only now, but for the past decade. James Jiskra is the Advertising Director for Vintage Guitar magazine (http://www.vintageguitar.com/) which is also the leading guitar collector, enthusiast, and dealer magazine in the world. For the past 10 years, James has been a large part of the reason why Vintage Guitar has enjoyed such enormous success and the reason they are known as the “guitar experts” magazine. With the quality of advertisers he has created loyalty with, and new advertisers he continues to bring in. Here are three tips James was thoughtful enough to share with me:

  • Be proactive. If you find a problem with an ad after it’s already in print, let the advertiser know before they see it and offer an appropriate credit. They’ll appreciate the honesty will take the news much better than if they’d found the mistake themselves. We’ve also noticed that when this happens they’ll often increase their ad size or lengthen frequency.  
  • When you get to the office in the morning, read your newest e-mails first.  You’ll save time by not trying to fix something that has already been taken care of. Same goes for voice-mail. Listen to all voice-mails before acting on the first “emergency” call. Sometimes things work themselves out without your intervention.
  • This is an old one but, smile when you answer the phone. You really can hear the difference on the other end.

 Think about your relationship with your print salesman, wouldn’t you wanted to be treated the same way? A person that will be proactive, and honest with you, who listens, and  is going to be optimistic and a source of great fuel for you to keep doing what you love. I came across a quote the other day I would like to share with you.  “Live your life like a duck, calm and cool on the surface, but under the water kicking like hell.” Keep kicking, but keep your head positive.

September 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A “good old country boy” who fights for your Blind Side….

I watched The Blind Side recently, and couldn’t help reflecting on what an amazing story it was. Everyone in the movie played their roles exceptionally well. Now I am no movie critic, but the lesson I took away was that of not backing down. In the movie, the matriarch (played by Sandra Bullock), would not allow her children to back down from any challenge. She wouldn’t allow her neighbors to influence her decision to help Michael Oher, or allow Michael to be influenced by gang bangers or anyone else… and look at how successful he ended up! I thought to myself, she’s a fighter, and if we all had encouragement to never back down, if we had a person like her in our lives, we could conquer anything.

 So I called up my good friend (he’s actually more like family), client, and mentor Jim Visser. Jim is retired Navy, inductee of the RV Manufactured Housing HOF in 2007, and publisher of The Journal. I asked him how, out of all the manufactured housing publications, his is the only one left standing? Mr. Visser answered that over the past thirty years he has been publishing The Journal of Manufactured Housing (http://www.journalmfdhousing.com/), he is still just a “good old country boy doing the best he can” and never “backing up”. Personally, just like Sandra Bullock’s character, I don’t think the words “back down” are in Jim’s vocabulary, as you will see.

Originally, Mr. Visser published Georgia Mobile Home News, which was distributed to apartment complexes in Atlanta; Jim later took the magazine statewide. Always looking to improve, Jim took notice of a publication whose quality he really liked and called the publisher to see who their printer was. Ever since that day 16 years ago, Jim has been working with Conley calling it, “The best business decision I ever made.” With the heatset quality he received from Conley, he took his publication nationwide and today remains the oldest and only manufactured housing publication in the industry.

 I asked Jim, “If anyone has had a reason to downgrade the quality of their publication, it is the housing publishing market, so why haven’t you?” Visser stated, “There are tons of people who can give you the price you want, but when you back off that quality, will you also back off the quality of your customer service, your circulation, are you going to keep backing off until finally you are not there like the rest of your competitors? The higher the quality, the more exciting and interesting the publication is, and the better chance I will have national advertising agencies calling me.”

Finally, I asked Jim to share three tips he felt were instrumental to his success:

  • Provide information people want to read. If you don’t have quality content, what good is it?Include a variety of writers on different subjects. Don’t let advertising overrun the publication. ·
  • Find quality sales reps who will beat the bushes and live up to what they say. Remember that for advertisers, it’s the relationship that matters. Some advertisers have been loyal to Jim in every issue for the past thirty years.
  •  Find a quality printer that will help you design a quality magazine that will satisfy your readers.

We are all looking for ways to reduce cost, especially now. Publishers are cutting back on circulations, page quantities, reducing trim size, downgrading paper stocks, reducing frequency, and more. I get it, I really do. With fewer advertisers, the money flow constricts so you look for ways to “back up”. Paper mills have raised paper prices this year, and the ever present threat of increased USPS rates looms over us all. So what do you do?

Take it from Jim, he is no stranger to change. He has gone from a 10×14 trim size to a 9x 10-7/8, from newsprint to a gloss, from 64 pages to 32 pages, as well as taken advantage of our digital magazine capabilities, but he has never broken the rules of what made him successful. I am not saying that at times we shouldn’t make changes in order to meet budgets. I am saying work with a printer that is going to consult with you on changes in keeping with the quality of your publication and your goals. From paper stocks to trim sizes, there are economical and efficient choices. Don’t always choose a low cost leader; they may just accelerate you “backing up” until you are no longer there.

August 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments