- Mistakes in formatting margins or structure
- Unfit-for-purpose stocks and materials
- Discolouration or inconsistencies of colour.
This is part three in our series about how effective print planning can boost your business. To read more on this topic view parts one and two. Effective print planning has been on our minds a lot lately – from what poor print planning can mean for your business (and how to overcome it) to how to leverage print planning for a competitive advantage. Failing to plan your prints can put you at risk of losing money over low-quality prints. And “low-quality” can cover any number of sins, including:
This is part two in our series about how effective print planning can boost your business. View part one or subscribe to our blog to stay updated. Everyone’s got a theory about how you can be more competitive. Most of that advice can be boiled down to: Be unique and cost-effective. So where does print fit into that directive? We spoke last month about what good print planning looks like — but how do you leverage that knowledge to gain a competitive edge? Well, there’s plenty of opportunities in print to shave costs. There’s also lots of ways to ensure that you’re getting the best quality product that you can — rather than dealing with errors, unfit-for-purpose products or reprints. But there’s also other areas where you can use print to create a truly unique, memorable brand for your business. Today, I’m taking you through some key ways that you can leverage good print planning to build a cost-effective, unique point of difference — so you can gain that richly needed competitive edge.
“How do I use print to get a leg-up?”When there’s always a threatening disruptor nearby, ready to pounce on your share of the market, it’s obviously hugely important to differentiate yourself from them. That doesn’t just mean ensuring you’ve got a good hold on your margins — although that’s clearly a huge part of it. It’s also about building yourself as a memorable and recognisable brand. Both of those factors together ensure that you’ll withstand the flood of scrappy new competitors and disruptive technologies. So, how can effectively planning your prints help you gain a competitive edge? Through the creation of memorable and valuable marketing material that can be repurposed and reused. If other companies have better and more cost-effective print marketing, it’s one key area where you’re falling behind. It means at trade fairs, conferences or even just in advertising, they’ll have the more recognisable brand — and they’ll be in your customers’ heads.
Make a lasting impression with unique and innovative printI’ve seen the concept of strong, recognisable and memorable marketing material used to great effect many times. The most effective tools to keep your company front of mind are memorable by great design, have multiple use applications, and can be repurposed over and over again. And good, well-executed print can help boost your marketing material just as effectively as digital. Best of all, you’re no longer limited to USBs and pens. New innovations in print are growing every day – allowing your print to reflect your brand, and sell your value, exactly as you’d like. With the right print partner, your options for a lasting impression are limitless. For example, rather than just making a flyer that’s going to end up in the recycling pile – have a tear-away business card at the bottom so they can easily carry and access your details for later. And speaking of business cards – why stop at an eye catching design? Grab their attention the moment you slide your card into their hands with a textured, velvet business card. Business is all about first impression, and print is a tactile experience, unique from digital. Give someone something useful, and they’ll carry your brand around with them everywhere. Give them something memorable, and you’ll always be front of mind.
Gain some expert advice on how to create competitive print marketing materialWhen you have endless possibilities at your fingertips, it can be a little hard to figure out where to start. Fortunately, you can always ask the experts. At Inkifingus, we use our in-depth knowledge of creative design and effective print management for brand awareness to help a wide variety of customers from a huge range of industries. Using our years of expertise, we can give advice and help you to create print products that are memorable, valuable and usable. We can also use our co-sourced printing capability to access a unique and varied range of suppliers, so you can create a printed piece that’s truly unique and customised to your needs. Contact Inkifingus today if you would like to know more about the benefits that co-sourced printing can offer your business. Or, if you’d like more information on Inkifingus’ extensive range of products and services, you can download our product brochure here.
This is part one in our series about how effective print planning can boost your business. Subscribe to our blog to stay updated on the series. The idea of actually finding the time to sit down to think about and then plan out your printing probably sounds laughable. With the stresses of needing to drive revenue hanging over your head the last thing you want to be concerned about is margins or banner sizes. But what if I told you that taking that planning time could actually save you money? We’ve spoken a lot in previous blogs about all the ways that printing can help you control costs — from ensuring you’ve got the right expertise around to ensure fit-for-purpose prints, to moving away from an ad-hoc approach. Well, another huge factor that can affect cost controls in your business is whether or not you effectively plan your prints. There’s a HUGE difference between a well-planned print job and one that’s been haphazardly thrown together. Getting what you need out of printing all comes down to how well prepared you are right from the beginning. Failing to plan your printing effectively can lead to:
- Making mistakes in print jobs
- Using the wrong materials
- Overpaying on stock or services
- Printing something you don’t need or isn’t right for your business.
The StructureWhat do I mean by failing to plan print structure? Well, here’s a common scenario — you’ve probably experienced something like it: You want a specially branded folder to hand out on a training day. You get your designer to create a perfectly sleek, eye-catching design. You get a range of print quotes to find the best one. You choose the exact stock you want. And it comes back from the printer with half the design cut off by a glue flap. You’ve gone from a sleek, high-quality idea to a messy and unusable waste of money. That stock and complex folding didn’t come cheap, and now you’re going to have to pay to get it re-done. And it’s all because of a failure to plan all the details. I see it all the time; binding errors, glue flaps, and just generally poor placement of anything structural. It all comes down to a lack of experience and a failure to plan ahead.
The Use SituationFailing to consider where and how your printed product is going to be used is one of the best ways to make sure it won’t be suited to that purpose. This is especially the case for items that need to be used outdoors — have you accounted for weather or durability? And if it’s for an indoor event or booth — have you considered transportation and setup? If you’ve designed a banner that needs 7 guys, a crane, and a degree in aeronautical engineering to set up, then it’s probably not right for a one-day event.
The QuantityWhen most businesses order collateral — be it business cards, flyers or folders — they have a tendency to over-purchase because of the perception that it’s “cost-effective” to bulk buy. But what are you really going to do with all that extra product? All those extra business cards for a person who doesn’t even work for you anymore? What are you going to do with all those letterheads dated from last year? You can see how a failure to plan any of these factors can lead to a huge waste of money, storage and time.
“How can I get better at planning my printing?”The key to getting better at planning your printing is to consider all aspects. To get started, you should first ask yourself these three questions:
What are your overall objectives?
What are you trying to sell?
What are you trying to achieve out of this printed piece?
Not sure where to start? Get advice from an expertOne of the best things you can do to ensure you’re being proactive about printing and planning is to get some consultation and advice. At Inkifingus, we know all the ins-and-outs of printing, and it’s second nature to us to consider every single factor. We also offer co-sourced printing, which gives us access to a huge number of suppliers. It means we’re capable of getting you exactly what you need, in the right materials, at the right amount. Contact Inkifingus today if you would like to know more about the benefits that our expert planning advice can offer your business. Or, if you’d like more information on Inkifingus’ extensive range of products and services, you can download our product brochure here.
How much do you really think about the quality of your printing? In most organisations, it’s not a huge consideration. Printing — be it collateral, presentations or everyday documents — is seen as more of a necessary evil to be handed off to the new guy, rather than something to be taken seriously.
Pixelated images. Faded signage. Folders that have been glued shut. When you’re printing in bulk, any one of these is an absolute nightmare. Printing mistakes happen due to any number of factors, but they almost always stem from the same core reason: whoever was in charge of printing didn’t have the specific knowledge required to do the job properly.
If printing isn’t a core function of your business, there’s a good chance someone is managing your print buying ad hoc — someone whose main job, or expertise, isn’t print.
In the golden days of mailrooms and mullets, companies like yours probably had a dedicated in-house staff member whose sole job was to organise everyone’s printing. These were the experts, and they knew everything about who and where to go to get the best outcome for their company’s print. But, with the rise of digital marketing and social media, the printing needs to most (if not all) organisations have changed. A paperless office may be the dream for the future, but businesses will always need printed products and collateral at some point. But who does do the job, and how much do they actually know? The responsibilities for print management too often lie with admin assistants or marketing managers — so someone who is unfamiliar with printing, and has 100 other things to do. So if your marketing manager is trying to take responsibility for five things at once, they can’t know everything — especially the finer quirks of printing. But having your printing managed by someone who isn’t an expert leaves you open to a number of risks:
- Not knowing the value of printing — do you know if you want low volume digital print, or large volume offset print? Which option is better suited to your business? If you don’t know, you risk choosing the uneconomical option — which could potentially cost your business thousands.
- Missing opportunities — do you know of every single product and service available to you? If not, you risk wasting time and effort on an unsuitable option, or missing out on one that would be great for your business.
- Typos and proofreading errors — with electronic media, you can edit and re-edit to your heart’s content. In printing, you only get one shot. If there’s a mistake, then you have to reprint the entire batch. Not only does this increase the dollar value of the print job, it’s wasteful, environmentally irresponsible, time consuming, and can result in a lower quality print due to the need to recoup the costs.
- Incorrect file types — digital files might be flexible and versatile on the screen, but not every file type is suitable for print. Images that are of low resolution, or an incorrect format, or an unsuitable colour resolution will produce poor quality in print.
- Not knowing what to look for — do you know why some things look good on screen but not on paper? Or how to adjust colours to fix that? Without specialised print knowledge it’s often difficult to detect the fault in the process, and improve for next time.
- Having to make adjustments — keep having to change your work to suit the needs of the printer? If the piece you want to print isn’t working, you need to find a solution that has to adjust to
Co-sourced printing: avoid hidden costs with a dedicated print partnerIn order to find the right manufacturing process, for the right application, for the right outcome, organisations need to have a closer relationship with their printer. By engaging Inkifingus with this unique problem, we developed a co-sourced printing process that allowed the car company to get their business cards mass produced and delivered to them in no time at all. We created an online template for their business card and an easily-accessible spreadsheet of names. This enabled them to more effectively double-check information before submitting the final print order. Not only did this solution reduce the likelihood of human error, it improved resourcing costs for the business. By reducing the time wasted on multiple proof readings, and in turn the number of print orders with errors in the copy, the company was able to reduce the printing and resourcing cost of their print management, and generated a better product result. They were also able to access unique, specialised solutions specific to their business, thanks to the comprehensive knowledge of their Inkifingus print partner. If you’d like to experience the same benefits, give me a call on 0400 024 905 to talk about outsourcing your print management.
Have you considered Co-sourced printing?From designing the job, printing, collating, and binding it based on your requirements, and delivering the finished product to your doorstep. At Inkifingus, we have a dedicated team of printing specialists, all with their own areas of expertise, to help businesses achieve the best possible print outcome through our co-sourced printing model. Through co-sourced printing you can achieve:
- A more cost-effective approach to print management;
- Ongoing print management support from an expert printer, including advice and ideas for ensuring the best quality printed product;
- Design and concept creation from experienced designers, and printers who understand how to get the best message across through print; and
- A streamlined printing process tailored to the needs of your organisation.
Is using sustainable paper a priority for your business? Environmental sustainability has been increasingly at the forefront of people’s minds in the last few years, with many businesses making to effort to reduce paper waste, digitise most documents, and recycle wherever possible. However, we’ve found that many businesses are choosing to use imported paper that is advertised as recycled or sustainable, but in doing so, their knowledge of the origin of the paper is limited. A contributing factor to this is the fact that most paper suppliers in Australia import their paper from overseas, where it has been milled and recycled.
When it comes to print management, traditionally organisations have been limited to two options: internal or outsourced printing. But have you considered a third option: Co-sourced printing? In this evolving digital landscape, it is becoming abundantly clear to many business leaders that traditional print management methods are no longer meeting their organisation’s needs. Fortunately, there are more printing options available than ever before, making the choice for a right printing model difficult for businesses. Each offers different solutions, expert areas, and consistency in quality, but can they meet the particular needs of your organisation?