Achieve Relevancy and Resonance with Personalization
November 8, 2006

The undisputed, attention-getting power of personalization has been bottled and sold by marketers for quite some time, and as new technologies take center stage, it grows ever more potent. As direct mailers move beyond the moniker-laden postscript and salutation, today’s marketing message is defined by more customer-specific communication. James Michelson—a principal at marketing and technology firm JFM Concepts—maintains, “The key to personalization is more than just the name. It’s everything that corresponds to that person’s demographic.” Such targeted information can include where a prospect lives, what kind of car they drive, even their past experiences—and it’s being used to great success in direct mail

Three Ways to Increase Holiday Online Conversion Rates
November 8, 2006

’Tis the season to be shopping … is your Web site ready for the fourth quarter holiday rush? In its recent whitepaper, Holiday Sales Tune-up, e-commerce retail technology firm MarketLive reports that the winter season typically represents 20 percent of retail sales. This presents a great opportunity for Web merchants who pay close attention to their customers’ needs because, as MarketLive points out, “When you help holiday shoppers save time and find the right gifts, you’ll strengthen a relationship that will pay off well past New Year’s Day.” What’s more, the report suggests big-budget Web site overhauls are unnecessary to give customers a positive

10 Creative Ways to Go In-line
November 1, 2006

In-line finishing is like in-line skating in that it satisfies a primal urge: the need for speed. In-line finishing also has the “cool factor,” like in-line skating. And in-line printers get to wear those cool clothes, too. But what is in-line finishing exactly, and what are the best ways to use it? In-line finishing condenses the web printing process, the bindery process and the lettershop process into one continuous operation. One or more webs—or rolls of paper—are printed, cut, folded and addressed in a single step. And a wide variety of creative options are available to embellish the printed piece, as I’ll mention later. The advantages

The New Vanguard
September 9, 2006

Every industry has its luminaries—pioneers whose names become synonymous with the techniques or products they developed. Ed Burnett, Ralph Lane Polk II, Richard Benson, John Caples, Leon L. Bean, Lillian Vernon, Jeff Bezos and, of course, Lester Wunderman come to mind. But not every trailblazer operates in the white-hot spotlight. Many conduct brilliant work day after day for their companies in relative anonymity. That is, until Target Marketing decided to nose around and find those professionals who are setting new standards for direct marketing performance. With the help of our Editorial Advisory Board and other key industry figures, we’ve selected eight exceptional direct marketers who

Get More Quality Out of Digital Printing
September 6, 2006

For years, most direct marketers looked at digital printing as offset’s low-quality cousin. But technological improvements and an industry-wide interest in one-to-one communication have driven digital into the spotlight. “Digital printing is definitely on the rise,” states Dr. Joseph Webb, a Ph.D. graduate of the NYU Center for Graphic Communications Management and Technology and founder of To back up this assertion, Webb cites a study released by the Commerce Department that shows digital printing business increased 28.3 percent from 1997 through 2004, while the print industry overall decreased by 2.7 percent. Because most of the talk about digital printing centers around highly personalized variable

Seven Ways to Trim Production Costs
September 6, 2006

When it comes to direct mail, everyone wants to find a way to get the same return on less investment. As one of the biggest expenditures in a direct mail campaign, production is a logical place to start. And it’s also one of the easiest, as there are a number of simple things any company can do to trim some of the fat out of its production budget. Here are a few ideas: • Use standard-size envelopes. With the right creative, #10s, 6˝ x 9˝ and the like have just as much mailbox impact as their custom counterparts, for a fraction of the price. To

The Skinny on Soy-based Inks
July 12, 2006

Even though they’ve only recently entered the spotlight, soy-based inks are not a new phenomenon. Inks made from vegetable oils were popular before the 1960s—primarily for newspapers—because of their environmental benefits. However, they were supplanted by cheaper and more cost-efficient petroleum-based inks, which proved costly to both workers’ health and the environment. But soy inks have made a comeback, being increasingly specified by environmentally conscious print buyers. In fact, as long ago as the late 1980s, soy inks for sheetfed presses began showing up on the market. But are they any good? What are the pros and cons of soy inks? Why Soy-based Inks? Petroleum-based solvents

Production and Paper Special Report: Success From Any Angle
June 1, 2006

About five years ago, Eric Bright first saw the Flapper™, a dimensional mail piece that unfolds and re-folds to present four different messaging panels. While Bright, senior director of consumer marketing at Franklin Covey, a provider of effectiveness training, productivity tools and assessment services based in Salt Lake City, thinks the mailer featured the Nickelodeon cartoon character SpongeBob Squarepants, he’s positive he and his colleagues couldn’t stop playing with the effort’s reconfigurable panels. So the team decided in the summer of 2001 to test a Flapper, a format that is patented by Intervisual Communications, a dimensional print and promotions company acquired this past March by

Production and Paper Special Report: Get Smart About Print
June 1, 2006

Today, the word technology most often is used to refer to online innovations. In the search engine marketing sector, in particular, new solutions are rolled out almost monthly—if not weekly. By comparison, “most of what’s happening in direct mail printing is evolutionary not revolutionary,” says Barry Bogle, vice president, imaged products at Quebecor World, a commercial print media services firm based in Montreal, Canada. All the same, he notes, this incremental progress is significant in helping direct mail remain a cost-efficient activity for direct marketers. While few in the industry would dispute direct mail’s advantage as a strong one-to-one communication method, the rising costs

Production and Paper Special Report: Cycling Through Your Options
June 1, 2006

Consumers have become increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of the companies from whom they buy, and the direct mail delivered to their doorstep is a conspicuous reminder of paper consumption. Fortunately, finding a suitable paper that contains post-consumer waste is possible for just about every direct mail application. However, identifying a supplier that can provide product at the desired cost and composition requires knowing where to look. Not Your Grandfather’s Recycled Paper “Any [direct mail] product can be made with recycled fiber” without losing quality, according to Brian Cummins, the product and value chain manager for publications at paper manufacturer Stora Enso. Cummins says