Why In the WORLD would I go to a Printing Company for Graphic Design?

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Nov 11, 2011 @ 11:45 AM

Universal Printing takes great pride in offering the best of all graphic communication worlds: Award Winning Graphic Design, G7 Master Printer level digital output and commercial printing, and the latest in Direct Mail, featuring variable data and cross-media marketing solutions.  Over the years, we’ve worked with a lot of clients and companies who find themselves getting into a 2- or 3-prong approach with their projects: One company for design, another print, and sometimes even a third to handle the mailing.  Not a very efficient process, in our opinion.  WE always want to focus more on what is in the best interest of our clients.  Here’s a few reasons why a “single source solution” makes sense.

Design + Print is time-tested!

Universal offers Graphic Design, with or without LatteThis concept has been used time and time again in the construction and manufacturing industries, known as Design/Build.  We apply the same same principles at Universal Printing. When the people who are designing a piece are the people who are producing the piece, “unexpected surprises” just disappear!  All of our Graphic Design professionals work closely with other members of our production team, giving us the advantage of keeping current on the latest printing techniques, being familiar with folding and finishing requirements, and also having direct access to paper merchants and their pricing models.

“Less Expensive” is
NOT the same as “Cheap”

Often time, our Design quotes are significantly lower than Agency prices.  Some might think that it’s about the talent of our staff or the quality of our product.  “More expensive” must mean “better,” right?  WRONG!  Our Graphic Design team has won several regional and national design awards, and is comprised of graphics professionals from the fields of advertising, magazine production, and Fine Arts.  The reason WE can offer such aggressive pricing is because we don’t have to cover many of their overhead costs.  They need to pay for their office space, utilities, equipment, and the occasional latte or two. Why help pay for the rent and electricity of THREE buildings?  OUR staff is in our own building, using our digital prepress equipment, so keeping everything under one roof keeps our cost down, which is passed onto you.  It’s just that simple!

It’s all about the Bundles!

Contractors do it. Restaurants do it. The cable TV and satellite companies do it. Insurance companies do it.  EVERYONE recognizes the power of bundling products and services. WE are no different.  When you bundle together design, print, and direct mail, you only have one point of contact to deal with.  One person to coordinate with keeps you off the phone and out of your email inbox, and lets you deal with all the other aspects of your job.  “One call does it all.”  “Set it, and forget it.”  “Have it your way.”  We can’t actually use those slogans, but you get the idea.

No More Finger-Pointing!

Keeping everything under one roof keeps it simple and eliminates unnecessary “he said/she said” or “finger-pointing.” Ever dealt with any of these scenarios?
  • The Mailer says the Designer didn’t setup the address panels properly
  • The Designer says the Mailer stuck unnecessary labels or tabs all over the finished piece
  • The Printer says the Designer didn’t set up their files correctly
  • The Mailer says the Printer didn’t supply enough finished pieces to process the mailing

These problems all go away when the Designer, Printer, and Mailer are all under one roof. We know, understand, and can implement those ever-changing Postal requirements at the Design stage.  Our files will always print without surprises and we’ll always print enough to ensure your entire mailing is processed timely and efficiently.  Not only will we save you time, save you money, and reduce your stress; who knows, maybe we'll even throw in a free latte.

 

 

 

Universal Printing Blog Logo

Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: commercial printing, digital printing, Graphic Design Durham, graphic design raleigh, green printing, internet marketing, email marketing, emarketing, direct mail, multi channel marketing, Adobe Photoshop, variable data, cross-media marketing

New Printing & Marketing Technology: I want it, but where do I go?!

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Nov 04, 2011 @ 12:30 PM

Technology makes a lot of things easier and more efficient.  Take QR codes for example.  EVERYONE has taken notice of QR codes, and more people want to know how to use them better.  This is true for a lot of the new technology now available for design, print, or direct mail.

Sure, there are free online service to create QR codes; but if you want to brand them, build in tracking code to see the impact, or use them along with your other marketing efforts to maximize your reach to your clients, then you need to find a graphic communications partner that can help you get the best results possible.

Universal Printing QR Code
Scan or click to see just ONE example
of how QR codes can work.


Direct Mail is another place where technology is making HUGE impacts.  Variable Data Printing can turn each postcard or letter into an individually customized ice-breaker.  Universal’s Symphony does just that AND MORE! Symphony takes your flat mail piece and turns it into a multi-channel cross-media marketing machine.  Immediately, you can see the advantages of customize your message to every individual on your list and track then your results in "real-time."

Universal Printing cross-media marketing SymphonyImagine this: You are using your Marketing and Advertising budget to reach your audience in multiple ways – Billboards, Direct Mail, TV or Radio adverting, email marketing, to name a few.  Without solid, dependable metrics data, you can’t even BEGIN to start making meaningful sense of your marketing spend.  Sometimes, having two or three solutions in place won't give you the apples-to-apples comparisons. This is why you need to consider a more robust solution provider, who can give you all of the tools, products, and services that you need!

After all, it just makes good sense to have ONE mail list that contains all the elements for variable data printing, pURL generation, direct mail processing sorts and requirements, QR code generation, variable image data, and more.  No more worrying about how to compare one list versus another, what special software you’re going to need to purchase, or how you’re going to even get all your valuable data back out you’re finished with your campaign.

Universal Printing has all of the tools needed to give you the fully-formed, robust solutions that you’re looking for.  Contact us TODAY and speak with any member of our helpful staff. Our team of eMarketing Experts will be more than happy to consult with you on any upcoming projects or campaigns, or help you create a custom solution that will take full advantage of all these new wonderful new technologies that you crave!

 

 

Universal Printing Blog Logo

Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: business solutions, email marketing, emarketing, direct mail, multi channel marketing, variable data, QR code, cross-media marketing

Do You Have a Multi Channel Marketing Plan for 2011?

Posted by Universal Printing on Wed, Dec 22, 2010 @ 10:35 AM

 

Universal Printing Multi Channel Marketing 2011

With 2010 rapidly coming to an end, it's a perfect time to evaluate your 1st Quarter marketing goals for 2011. It really doesn't matter what industry you're involved in, EVERY company, group or organization uses marketing to some degree. If you're anything like us, you're most likely focusing your marketing efforts on growing new business and maintaining existing clients. Whether it's finding new leads, or developing existing customers, you need to maximize every chance you have to deliver your message. Your BEST option is an Intgrated Multi-Channel Marketing Campaign.

Symphony, our Multi Channel Marketing software product, offers a complete cross media solution that will get your message out there utilizing multiple conventional, digital and social channels. Not only will you dramatically increase your net impressions (or "touches"), but you'll also be able to track your results utilizing your campaign dashboard and ROI calculator!

Here are a few helpful things to keep in mind when you're planning your integrated marketing campaign.

1- Use a Cross Media approach: Your competitors are either already doing this, or will be VERY soon. There are so many ways to communicate with your audience and if you're not using all of them, you're leaving chips on the table. Utilizing mass media options like radio, newspapers, magazines, and billboards, as well as one-on-one methods like email and direct mail are all great. But shouldn't you also be taking advantage of the latest technologies that integrate all these channels and add text messaging, flash video, QR codes and other social media to reach your audience and measure responses?
 
2- Engage your audience: You have less than 3 seconds to deliver your message and request some kind of action. "Less is more." Keep your creative clean and simple, your message clear and concise, and your offer appealing.
 
3- Measure your results: Even if you ARE using all the media options available to you, do you have one central place to track and analyze all your results?  Using seperate tracking URLs for different mass media campaigns will help you see which channels are most effective.  You can do the same with social media pages or QR codes too.

4- Don't forget to follow-up: You've delivered your message, made your impression, and learned as much about your leads as you can. What next? Micro sites and landing pages add power to any campaign. Of course there's the "Thank You" page, and auto reply "Thank You" email, which should always include a way to "refer a friend." But don't miss out on a chance to use surveys to gather valuable client preference information. Utilizing rules based logic allows for dynamic responses and automated follow up based on stated preferences! Real-time lead information is automatically sent to both sales and management. You should also consider integrating SMS or text options for lead follow-up. 95% of all text messages sent get read! 

5- Now INTERACT with them:  Adding personalization to your direct mail or email pieces will get noticed faster. Going one step further and giving them a pURL or link to a personalized website is more likely to keep their attention. As long as you are providing clear actions and strong reasons to continue, you will get more chances to learn what your potential leads want from you.

There's a timeless saying: "Knowledge is power." Symphony helps you harness that power and use it to increase your lead generation and plan future marketing efforts with real measurable information.

So go ahead... Use our cross media solution for your multi channel marketing, and get INTEGRATED!  To help get you started, our friends over at iContact have posted some GREAT ideas to help get your creative juices flowing.

Tags: commercial printing, Universal Printing, business solutions, email marketing, Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing, direct mail, multi channel marketing, pURLs, response rate, email blast

Direct mail... Back-in-the-day or Future Play? Part II

Posted by Robert Moura on Fri, Nov 12, 2010 @ 11:28 AM

Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing.

As promised in Part I I will do some of the math to make the case for direct mail as compared to pay per click and email blasts. I stated that we in the printing and direct mail industry had allowed the folks in the web-based world (email blast, SEM and banner ads etc.) to improperly equate a web-based “click” response rate to our typical “direct mail” response rate.

Conventional Response Rate Wisdom says:

- A web-based campaign, generally speaking, considers a 5% response rate to be very successful.

- A direct mail campaign is successful with a 1-3% response rate.

This is where the improper comparison starts. The 5% response rate in the web-based campaign is defined as a “click”. A “click” is when someone “clicks” on the link to VIEW information. The 1-3% response rate in direct mail is when someone BUYS something and/ or takes the action that the direct mail piece was requesting!! If you want to compare apples to apples then you must compare the web-based click rate of 5% (which is more properly defined as the VIEW rate) with the “Click” or VIEW rate of direct mail, which is 79% (The Household Diary Study Mail Use & Attitudes in FY 2009)

 USPS Mail readership

 

Note that almost 100% of the recipients receive the direct mail piece in their mailbox while at least 30% of email is never delivered because of SPAM filters. When you calculate the cost of a pay per “click”, or VIEW, at an average $2-$4 compared with a cost per “direct mail click” or VIEW of $.90 (roughly $.30 postage + $.60 print 2sides and address and mail) you have a much more apples to apples comparison.

My point is that you need to have accurate information before you decide on one approach or the other based on potentially biased statistics. Or before discarding direct mail out of hand as irrelevant. Have you checked your good old fashion mailbox lately? It is probably the least competitive and cluttered space for you to get your message across to your clients, not to mention that most young folks don’t have land phone lines and they don’t take kindly to spam on their "sacred cell phones", but they do all have dwellings with mail boxes!!

Our belief is that great marketers should deploy both types of direct marketing campaigns. When web-based and direct mail marketing is deployed properly the synergies can produce fantastic results far greater than the sum of the individual parts!

This is why at Universal we utilize and offer our clients both conventional direct mail as well as Symphony, our multi channel marketing software, that incorporates pURLs (Personalized URLs) as part of our marketing strategy. This combination definitely provides a real lift to the response rates of both types of campaigns. In addition with Symphony you have a real time dashboard and can measure results and modify campaigns so you can decide for yourself if your specific campaign goals and objectives have been met.

Tags: email marketing, Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing, direct mail, multi channel marketing, pURLs, response rate, email blast, Symphony, click rate, clicks, pay per click, sem

Commercial Printing Awards are nice... but that's not why we're here!

Posted by Universal Printing on Tue, Oct 26, 2010 @ 03:24 PM

Winning awards is nice.  There's no other way to put it. When you work hard, doing your best day-in and day-out, it's just nice to feel appreciated.  It's ESPECIALLY nice when you are appreciated by your Professional peers.

PrintImage Excellence Awards Icon

Earlier this month, we were fortunate to receive awards in 3 categories at this year’s PrintImage Excellence Awards.  It's a national competition and the judges are graphic designers, professional print buyers, printing professionals, and ad agency representatives... so pretty much people that understand printing from all sides.

Of course, it's an honor to be recognized for our efforts but it's important to point out that awards, while wonderful to receive, aren't our motivation. We're passionate about what we do.  We enjoy putting ink-on-paper... the technology behind it all... and working with our often-demanding but incredibly loyal clients.  Taking their projects, and applying our skills and experience to deliver better than imagined results, is something that really pumps us up! As Bob Moura, the president of our company likes to say, "We're in the WOW business!"

So yes... winning awards is nice. We're glad to have won, and we hope to win more in the future. We'll continue to keep you updated, but in the meantime we'll continue to do what we do: Offer innovative  printing services, high-tech business solutions like ePrint our web 2 print storefront and Symphony, our Multi Channel Marketing solution, fast  turnaround, and the commitment and experience to tie it all together in order to deliver a WOW experience for our clients.

arlier this month, we were fortunate to receive awards in 3 categories at this year’s PrintImage Excellence Awards.  It's a national competition and there were several outstanding entries this year. The judging panel is made up of graphic designers, professional print buyers, printing professionals, and ad agency representatives... so pretty much people that understand printing from all sides.

 

 

Of course, it's an honor to be recognized for our efforts but it's important to point out that awards, while wonderful to receive, aren't our motivation. We come to work each day, and give it our fullest and best efforts because we're passionate about what we do.  We enjoy ink-on-paper... we enjoy the technology behind it all... we enjoy working with our often-demanding but incredibly loyal clients.  Taking their projects, and applying our skills and experience to make them better than imagined, is something that really pumps us up!

 

 

 

o yes... winning awards is nice. We're glad to have won, and will hope to win more awards in the future. We'll continue to keep you aware of our progress, but in the meantime we'll continue to do what we do: Offer quality printing services, high-tech business solutions like ePrint and Symphony, fast  turnaround, and the commitment and experience to tie it all together.

 

Tags: printing services, business solutions, direct mail, multi channel marketing, Symphony, ePrint, PrintImage Excellence Awards, web 2 print

Direct Mail isn’t going anywhere...

Posted by Universal Printing on Tue, Oct 19, 2010 @ 11:19 AM

For years we've been hearing about the "paperless office" and the death of the printing industry.  While it's true that the industry has been changing, printing is still a very trusted method of communication. What's even more surprising is that even among the coveted 18-34 year old market segment, print is the preferred method of receiving information.

Let me say that again... P-R-E-F-E-R-R-E-D

That statement seems to go against everything we've thought and seen up until this point but, according to ZDNet, a recent study shows that young consumers prefer direct mail over online media for many types of marketing communications.

The truth is, there's something innately trustworthy in a tangible piece of paper in your hands. Holding something physical, where ink, time, and effort has been committed, just seems to add legitimacy. Let's face it, in this ever evolving digital world where more and more people get their news and information from the internet, we must also accept this information with a grain of salt.

So what do we do with this information? How do we reach people in ways that combine the trustworthy elements of direct mail, with the ever evolving presence of the internet. Three simple words: Multi Channel Marketing!

By combining personalized direct mail with variable data printing, adding pURLs (personalized URLs), and utilizing custom landing pages or micro-sites, you can reach your target audience and get your message heard. 

Below is a video link to Universal's multi channel marketing solution, Symphony. Feel free to contact us if you're interested our web demo.

 

Tags: printing, Universal Printing, internet marketing, direct mail, multi channel marketing, pURLs