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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!

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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

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

Web vs Sheetfed? Which is best for you?

First and foremost, I’m baaaaack…..! I have some up coming blog’s that will be the best yet. An interview with a well known and respected executive in the publishing industry as well as an overview of the IMB vs Postnet, and what you need to know. I’ll also have a very special give away that will be coming in a few short months. To my friends like Paul Castain, Jeff Zuelke (a mentor, friend, and father in law), Bevery Sturtevant, and Sandy Hubbard, thank you for continueing to inspire me,  I highly suggest getting to know these people if you haven’t already!

Now lets get down to business!  You have heard of sheetfed presses, and have heard of web presses, but don’t know the difference and how it effects you both in cost and in quality.

First, let me give you a quick overview of the two. Sheetfed presses print on actual sheets of paper. Typically, there is much less waste with a sheetfed press. As well, the quality of printing is higher as compared to a web press, which means you are being printed on one continous paper roll. In printing with a web press waste is typically much higher, however the quality is good, and it gives you the ability to print in a higher page form count.

Currently there seems to be positive signs in the market, and publishers are looking to grow. As of late, I have been speaking with several publishers with circulations under or around 10,000 whom are looking to double their quantities. I have also been speaking with publishers whom have started off as a digital magazine, and are now looking to test the waters with a printed publication.

My advice, once you reach the thresh hold of print quantities over 10,000, look to see if a printer with web presses is going to be more economical for you. On average, you will see a nice savings due to less setup costs. Keep in mind though, page counts vary when going from sheetfed to web. On average, web presses print in 16 and 32 pages forms, and if you don’t stay in these breaks, you are not maximizing your efficiency. Compared to sheetfed presses that can print in page counts of four’s efficiently. Finally, make sure to compare the web samples to your sheetfed product. You may notice a slight difference in the quality of printing, but chances are they will not be enough to give up the savings of a web.

That all sounds pretty good, so I’m sure you’re wondering what the advantages of using a sheetfed press are.  The advantages of a sheetfed press over a web press come in to play with run quantities under 10,000. If a publisher is looking to test the waters with a printed product, and looking to start off around 3-4M with lower page counts, my advice is sheetfed. With less waste, a sheetfed press is going to be the most economical choice for your pocket book at these quantities.

I have spoken to publishers with print quantities well over 10M, and found out they are printing sheetfed. Vice versa, I have also spoken to publishers with print quantities well under 10M, and are being printed on a web. Printers aren’t going to turn down your business, and if the printer doesn’t have both sheetfed and web capabilities in house, you are only going to get the one option they do have which may not be the best for you.

My best advice to you….get to know your printers capabilities and equipment, it does affect your bottom line. There are advantages and dis advantages, and you need to take action to maximize all the advantages you can to continue to produce the best publication possible.

So now you know what web and sheetfed presses are the best fit for, evaluate what you are doing and take action!

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Digital Magazine, Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Knowledge is Power….More Changes from the USPS

Over the last 4 years, the rate of change in the USPS has increased exponentially! As the USPS attempts to bring the revenue for each class of mail in lines with the cost (per the postal reform act of 2006) and institute accountability measures (Sarbanes/Oxley accountability act or SOX for short) many new rules and rates are being introduced. For the rest of the year, I will take a closer look at some new rules and or rates that are proposed or enacted. Of particular importance are the proposed rate increase for January 2011, the new deflectance rule for flats that went into effect in June (otherwise known as the “droop” test), and the relaxing of ride along and supplement requirements for periodicals (I need to give you some good news!).  Below are some links where you can get more information on these items. Your local PCC can be an excellent resource for postal information.

Federal register notice for periodical changes: http://pe.usps.gov/FRN/Periodicals_Content_final.pdf

Federal register notice for deflection (droop) rule change: http://pe.usps.gov/FRN/Deflection_final.pdf

Federal register notice for rate changes: http://pe.usps.gov/FRN/Domestic_Jan_2011_Exigent_proposed.pdf

Actual proposed rate table for Jan 2011: http://pe.usps.gov/prices/Prices_Jan2011.xls

September 11, 2010 Posted by | Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments