NoahKnoble's Blog

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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

5 Tips to reduce your paper costs..

My friends, it is official, all paper mills have announced rate increases effective 4/1/2011 of an additional $2 per CWT. If you are wondering what compromises you can make to not only budget for this rate increase, but possibly reduce your paper costs, then this blog is for you!

  1. Look at backing off on the brightness of the paper. Let’s say you are printing on a 60# No. 3 gloss with a brightness of 87, well there is also a 60# No.3 with a brightness of 84 that will offer you a savings. You can also look into #4’s with brightness of 76 or #5s which are typically around a 72 Brightness. The bottom line here, if you are willing to compromise on the brightness of your paper stocks, you will reduce your paper costs. In addition, this is an effective method that doesn’t scream “I changed my magazine” to your readers and advertisers alike. Subtle changes like this can save you money in a big way.
  2. Look at reducing your basis weight of your paper stocks. You might be thinking to yourself “I can’t do that, everyone will notice” then my question to you my friend is how serious are you about reducing costs? The key here again are subtle changes to keep it as unnoticeable as possible. For example if you are on a 70# paper, look to a 60#, if you are on a 50#, look to a 45#…I think you get it….. Keep in mind too, the less your publications weighs, the more savings you will see in postal costs as well.
  3. Remove your cover! I know this one isn’t going to be for everyone, I realize this. But if you are willing to make a drastic change to reduce costs, then this one would be right up your alley. Many publications have a 4 pg cover over the inside pages. Get rid of it! If your inside pages are on a lighter basis weight paper stock such as a 38# and you are utilizing a 80 or 100# cover to protect it, look to bump your inside pages up to a 50# or 60#, you will still see a savings. I know many advertisers pay top dollar for positioning on the cover, they can still have quality positioning within the publication, and with the amount you will be saving you may be able to offer them two ad spaces at a discount to keep them happy. Based on your print quantities, savings can be enormous.
  4. Change your trim size. I love big, and truly believe the larger your publication the more readers and advertisers you will attract. HOWEVER, I realize this is a very simple way to reduce paper costs and mailing costs. Again subtle changes such as 10×13 print in 16 pg forms, at a 10×12 we can print you in 24 pg forms. 10×12 prints in 24 pg forms, at a 9×10 7/8 we can print in 32 pg forms. The more pages in a form, the less your paper and press costs. From there, you can look to reduce your trim to whatever compromise you are willing to make because most printers tap out at 32 page forms. Changing your trim size to reduce your paper consumption can yield a very nice savings depending on your print quantities.
  5. This one I was on the fence about, but am going to put here anyway. You may be able to reduce your paper costs by supplying your own paper. Printers typically purchase paper directly from the paper mills. You can look to paper brokers to see if you may be able to find a better cost on your paper stocks.Here is the caution, this paper is sometimes a “secondary paper” meaning there are imperfections in the paper. In addition, printers typically charge a paper handling fee if you are supplying your own paper. The amount you are saving by supplying your own paper may be eaten up by the handling fee, and now you have one more thing on your plate which is the paper broker. If you are going to supply your own paper, make sure your printer is involved with the process. Get samples of the paper, send those samples to the printer so they can evaluate it as well. I would suggest allowing the printer to supply the paper, however, I wouldn’t be completely honest with all of you if I didn’t recognize that this was another way to reduce your paper costs.

In case you didn’t notice, the theme was subtle changes to reduce costs. I can think up some very drastic changes to reduce costs such as going from gloss to newsprint, going from heatset to coldset ect….. I believe protecting the integrity of your publication while doing everything possible to reduce your costs will lead to your longterm success as we fight through these tough economic times and rate increases.

Talk to your print rep, I am more than just a salesman. Without you there is no me, I will be here to help in anyway that I can be which is more than just providing you numbers.

February 27, 2011 Posted by | Mailing, Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

5 Roles your print rep should play for YOU!

You may have noticed a lack of action from me over the past couple of weeks. My three year old son has been in and out of the hospital, but I am happy to say we have him home now, and we finally feel like we are out of the woods! This experience has caused me to take a good look at my priorities, not only at home, but also with my clients and prospects.

I sat down when I finally got back to the office the other day, and wrote out a list of how I can play more of a role for lovers of print. I asked myself what can I do to become better and help my clients become better, and here is what I came up with. These are 5 roles your print salesman should be performing for you!

1. Technology.Your print representative should be instructing you of new and creative ways to attract and build loyalty with your advertisers and readers alike. In today’s market, QR Codes, Augmented Reality, Digital Magazine. PURL’s, etc… aren’t right for everyone, but there is something right for anyone. Your sales rep should have a vast knowledge of your company, and be your consultant with new technology to help instruct and help increase your ability to not only survive, but grow as well! Also, there many creative avenues to offer other than technology such as gatefolds, tipping on an ad piece, RPN notes, and the like!

2. Quality Control. This is key in offering you a consistently quality piece. Your advertisers, members, and readers all deserve the highest quality product, after all, you are paying for it! Now I am not saying your print rep needs to stand over the press men to ensure there are no errors, most press men have great talent and an eye for when inks may need be adjusted. Also, with the advances in technology, presses have become very automated. However, they should be reviewing quality control pulls, communicating with you if there is any problems with your PDF files ie low DPI or too small of fonts etc.. Honesty and integrity are key, no one is mistake free 100% of the time, but how they communicate and take responsibility for the mistakes are essential to your business.

3. Cost Savers. Often times you can see a significant savings in some very small changes. With an increasing paper market, there may be an equivalent paper stock for far less cost. You could look at different cover coatings, going from UV to Aqueous typically saves cost. Often times there are sweet spots on how many pages in a form a printer is most economical in, changing your page count to fit this is much more economical.

4. Postal Rep. You thought I forgot about this didn’t you? OK, it could have fit into number three’s category, but I think we all know this deserves its own category! With ever changing postal regulations, rate changes, and the like, your print rep should be instructing you on changes not only now, but what also might be coming in the future. USPS regulations affect everyone, and when something comes along like the proposed rate increase (thank goodness it failed), the droop test, and much more your representative should be showing you how it will affect you, and what is most economical way to come into compliance should you need to. Just because the postal hikes didn’t pass doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be something else on the horizon, I know I have my ear to the ground!

5. Support. Yes, this is a different kind of support that I am speaking of than what I have outlined above. I pride myself on not being a hit and run type of representative. What do I mean? After the sale you no longer see your sales rep, they are like a ghost….hear their footsteps but never their voice! Building personal relationships allows for open and clear communication, also it just makes for a more fun way of doing business. It is nice to know that they are not only working for you, but also with you. Some say family fights more than friends, but to that I say blood is thicker than water!

Evaluate your relationship, these are only some of the things that your print rep should be doing for you. Take advantage of our knowledge, we want to assist you and see print survive! Without you, there is no us, and without us, you are not the best you.

October 21, 2010 Posted by | Digital Magazine, Mailing, Publishing, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 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