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It’s Time to Realize Value


“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

Throw a QR Code on it!

Recently, I have had the privilege of participating in some great discussions on LinkedIn about how people, and organizations are utilizing QR codes to enhance their brand and message. I was surprised to see all the new, creative, and unique ways that QR codes are being used. Below is a list of most of those ideas, I hope it gives you some inspiration!

  • Real Estate signs- This is one I am seeing more of. I walk my dog quite a bit, and scan the QR codes on the signs all the time…this is genius! By linking the QR code to the listing, you are immediately allowing the buyer to make a decision if they want to see the house or not.
  • Business Cards- Input your information into the QR code so that it saves right to the potential client’s Outlook when they scan it. OR, link it to a short Youtube video that introduces yourself to them.
  • Catalogs- To me this is kind of a no brainer. With studies showing that a printed catalog doubles your sales, think about what the convenience of a QR code would do to increase your sales even more! Link it to your website, where they can easily order the products they want, whether they are on the go or just don’t want to jump on the computer…it would be an avenue worth exploring!
  • Publications- Offer this to your advertisers, anything you can do to help increase their sales and website traffic will only build more loyalty!
  • Devices- In one group, a gentleman said that a company that makes prosthetic devices was putting QR codes with them, linking them to a manual of how to utilize the device. Now that’s a great idea!
  • Packaging- I see them on food products everywhere now, most of the time linking to a URL….but what about a text message showing the health benefits of your product! That’s information I want to know, make it easy for me to find though!  I don’t want to have to search for it on the package!
  • Direct Mail- I am running a direct mail campaign right now that is based around a QR code which is linked to a short “skit” on Youtube. The idea, make it more than another “piece of mail” and give it a face.
  • Products- Link it to your Youtube commercial. If its a bow, show me a hunting video of the bow I am about to buy being used to shoot a 10 point buck….get me excited to purchase your product!
  • Restaurants- Try putting one on a menu, or your placemats.  If you do delivery link the QR code to your phone number.  That way I don’t have to keep searching through my junk drawer for an old menu that has your number on it!  If it’s a dine in have a welcome you tube video from the chef.

QR codes can be used in a variety of promotial, informative, and fun ways. Even better, they are easy to use, easy to get, and allow for a simple way to track your efforts. I don’t see how you could lose!

I told my wife today that I am going to find a way to put a QR code on my dogs name tag. If he were to get lost, someone could just scan the code and a text message would pop up of where to return him. I love my dog that much, I hope you love your business that much!

For great groups to join on LinkedIn where people come to share insight, ideas, and actually discuss topics (and played a vital role in ideas for this blog) check these groups out:

Sales Playbook!

Association Media & Publishing

Chicago Publishing Network

March 26, 2011 Posted by | Publishing, QR Codes, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Apples and Oranges and Grapes—Oh, my!

Putting your magazine out for bid isn’t always fun and games. While, there is no right or wrong number when it comes to how many bids you request, here’s how to get the most out of your print bid process.

Putting your magazine out for bid isn’t always fun and games. There is no right or wrong number when it comes to how many bids you request, but I can share with you my experience.When bidding with six or more printers including the incumbent, the month-long process you were hoping the bid would take will now last an additional month, without any other unforeseen circumstances. However, by making the most out of your bid process, and making it as informative and efficient as possible, you can then make the best decision for your organization.

A good bid package to get the closest apples to apples comparison should include the following; anything more is unnecessary and anything less might leave you confused.

  • A sample of your publication(s). Printers often times call things by different names. For example, one printer might use the term UV coating while another uses Snap coating, etc. If you send a sample of your magazine along in the bid package, the printer can see for themselves.
  • Blanked out invoice. Include a blanked out invoice (remove pricing from a current invoice) that matches up with the issue of the sample of your publication(s). This way the printer can go through the blanked out invoice and make sure to give you an “as is” cost.
  • Mail file that matches up with the sample of the publication(s). If you feel uncomfortable providing this, you can always have the printer sign a non-disclosure clause first. This will allow printers to produce a co-mail or co-pal analysis for your organization, if you qualify for it. Also, make sure to ask about expected increased delivery times if co-mailing or co-palling.
  • Expected production schedule. Including a production schedule will allow a printer to analyze whether they can meet your expected turnaround time as well as improve it. Many times printers will offer you an incentive if your production schedule fits a hole in their press schedule. If you are open to a change in your production schedule for an incentive, note this in the bid package.
  • Questionnaire. This could be a list of your ten most important questions.You would interview a new employee; why would you not interview your printer? For example, included in a bid package developed by Eric Reese, managing editor for hfm magazine (the flagship publication of the Healthcare Financial Management Association),was a list of questions that were designed to help them pick the best partner that fit their organization. Questions ranged from “In what percentile, roughly, would hfm fall across the publications you print, from smallest to largest?” to “What are your capabilities for handling specialty advertising vehicles?”

“We wanted to include in our RFP questions that would address our future goals for hfm (such as co-mailing) and questions that into areas that have proven to be a concern for us over the years,” says Reese. “Deciding which questions to ask was, in part, just taking time to look for potential ‘bumps in the road,’ based on our previous experience.”

Ask questions that are relevant to your organization. It does not have to be ten questions, but you want to have a pretty good understanding of who would be the best fit for your organization other than “the best price.”

  • References. Ask for references!! Make sure to ask for references that are similar to your publication, i.e., another “like” organization they print or an organization similar in size and paper stocks.
  • Ask for samples. Get samples of publications they currently print that are either an exact match or comparable to the paper stocks you currently print on so that you can review the quality of the printing.Now I am not being naive here: We all know samples are the “best of the best”, but at least now you have something to refer to should the printer print anything of less quality than what they have sent you.

To get a good feel for who is going to be the best fit for your organization, ask thorough questions about technology such as social media, digital magazines, etc. It is clear to see that the publishing industry is moving in this direction, and although print will be around for some time to come, you want a printer that will be able to help you grow in all aspects of publishing.

Finally, all publishers should have the best possible relationship they can with their printer. Yes, the questionnaire should give you a pretty good feel for who might be the best fit for your organization, but it is still a very important step in this process to meet with your top selections face to face. After all, the true foundation for a great relationship starts with a hand shake.

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The new face of Conley…JBK!

 It brings me great joy to announce to you that Conley Printing is now owned by J.B. Kenehan. Our two facilities compliment each other very well, over the past six years we have had a close working relationship with one another. It just made sense to team up to provide you the most in house capabilities that a printer can offer. You can now consolidate everything from your magazine, newspaper, catalog, specialty advertising needs, down to your calendar right here at one place.

To give you an example of some of our new capabilities:

  • Various trim sizes such as digest, slim jim, and delta fold.
  •  Specialty items such as media kits, belly bands, BRC’s and die cut inserts.
  • Spiral binding, loop stitching, scoring, drilling, and UV coating.
  • Ability to economically print runs of any size.

 All this sounds good but what will be changing you are asking yourself. Our values, reputation for quality, dedication to meeting your goals, quality customer service, right down to the people are all still staying the same. The only thing that is changing is our name from Conley Printing to J.B. Kenehan.

 Please read the press release for more information: . With our new capabilities, we will be more efficient in turn around time and less expensive in costs for your advertising vehicles due to less outsourcing of work. Please give me a call if I can answer any questions for you, or so that I can tell you more about this exciting news! I would love to see what else we can do for you and your advertisers.

For more information about J.B. Kenehan please go to this website:

 PS…. You will notice my signature and email changing here in the near future……just remember it is still me!

September 7, 2010 Posted by | Publishing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment