Using Data to Develop Informed Creative

 

Author: Mike Dietz, Executive Creative Director and Laura Karels, Lead Designer

Ultimately, the goal of any direct mail piece is to pique a consumer’s interest, but also leave them wanting more. This is where informed creative comes into play.

When a piece of mail is in a consumer’s mailbox, there are two steps that need to be taken to achieve the desired outcome. First, it must garner the attention of the consumer to be opened. Once that occurs, it needs to convince the consumer to take action, whether that’s a phone call, typing in a unique URL, or scanning a QR code.

Getting the consumer to the point of taking action requires thoughtful strategy behind the design and copy of the piece – allowing the data to inform influence the creative strategy.

Knowing your audience means being able to resonate with them better. But the only way to do that is to know your data.

Subtle Changes Can Make Big Differences

Every target demographic is different, so why wouldn’t your direct mail reflect that? Writing for different target audiences require a good amount of nuance. This is when having a strong copywriter who knows how to add in those subtle changes that make all the difference for who you’re speaking to.

Let’s say you’re an insurance company and you want to reach those of retiring age as well as those who are just starting their families, that’s people in two wildly different life stages. While the entire structure and copy doesn’t need to change, reordering the bulleted benefits in a way that puts the most important to them first is a way to capture attention. The retired couple might not be looking for the same elements of a health insurance plan as a young family with three children.

The same goes for imagery. While you don’t need hundreds of image options, having a few that reflect who you’re sending to is helpful. You’re more likely to open something that looks like you.

Understand Your Consumer’s Barriers

Another important aspect to know about your audience is what might keep them from taking action. Identifying potential barriers is key. Once identified, address it in the copy right away. Going back to the insurance example, some people might not want to switch insurances because they think it will be too complicated and you’ve lost them before they even read the offer. By stating that the insurance company will eliminate all the pain of switching, you’ve helped overcome their hesitations.

Move the Needle

Ultimately, figuring out what elements will move the needle for your consumer are what’s most important. And you guessed it, infusing data into your creative strategy provides you with the best opportunity for success. At Nahan, our Designers work seamlessly with our Data and Strategy teams to develop informed creative that gets the job done.

 

 

 

The Trustworthiness of Direct Mail in the Age of Cybersecurity

 

Author: Bryan Formhals, Senior Marketing Specialist

 

Security and privacy are two issues that impact almost every aspect of the way consumers engage with marketing in today’s world. While much of the focus revolves around cybersecurity and consumer data privacy, what happens in one channel has an impact in other channels.   

For marketers currently working in direct mail, or considering moving into it sometime soon, it’s important to understand some of the high-level issues revolving around security and privacy, which may not always be obvious on the surface.  

In the post, we’ll review how cybersecurity issues impact direct mail, and how agencies like Nahan help marketers navigate tricky security and privacy issues.  

Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Are Top of Mind Issues 

The inherent security risks around digital interactions are well known at this point. We all know about spam, phishing and data breaches. They make headlines and we’re all trained by our IT departments about these threats.   

These days, consumers are faced with potential threats anywhere they interact online, whether that’s clicking on banner ads or a link in an email. The threats are everywhere.  

Our inboxes are particularly a prime target which has made us inherently more risk adverse. We look for our billing statements, emails from friends and family and perhaps a few newsletters from trusted brands and media outlets. Anything else is oftentimes viewed suspiciously.  

Along with cybersecurity threats, consumers are weary about data privacy and how their information is collected and used by companies. This has made data privacy a hot button political issue with new laws in Europe fundamentally changing how companies can collect data. There could be similar laws in the United States within a few years, making data collection, targeting and analytics more complex for marketers.  

In this ever-changing landscape, it’s no wonder that consumers are growing weary of, and have a short attention span for marketing messages. In fact, brands have less than 3 seconds to capture consumers attention with an email message.  

So, what does this mean for marketers working the direct mail channel?   

Direct Mail is Trustworthy  

Direct mail has long been a trusted media channel. It might be common sense, but we know that when we get a piece of mail, it’s probably legitimate. There is no threat to your personal data by opening an envelope or reading a postcard.  

Beyond its safety, many consumers actually welcome mail from brands they trust. According to an Epsilon survey, 59% respondents say they welcome and enjoy getting mail from brands to find out about new products.  

Effective marketing requires integrated approaches and finding the right channel mix. These days, there’s a lot of uncertainty, and dynamics are always changing which requires smart marketers to be even more data driven. If you’re looking to break through the noise, direct mail is both safe and effective. According to the Data & Marketing association, around 90% of direct mail gets opened compared to 20-30% of marketing emails.  

We know that consumers trust direct mail, and it can be a highly effective channel with the right message and offer. However, that trust is built on security and established privacy laws and policies, which are critical to understanding in the direct mail channel.  

Direct Marketing Agencies Are Security Partners  

Security is a paramount issue in the direct mail channel. Many types of campaigns require companies to share sensitive customer data with their direct mail partners.  

With security protocols becoming more stringent to meet increasing cybersecurity threats, direct marketing providers like Nahan need the highest level of commitment to security to ensure consumer privacy.  

That’s why Nahan is certified at the highest level by organizations including HIPPA or PCI DSS, SOC2+HITRUST, S2Score (third-party security/risk assessment), PCI DSS, SOC2+HITRUST, HIPAA, CCPA, and GDPR. 

Nahan Security Safeguards   

At Nahan, we have decades of experience in direct mail industry, working with brands across many industries that require the highest security standards. We’re constantly reviewing our protocols and working with customers to develop new security processes. 

We know that protecting our clients’ customer data is critical to building trust, and delivering the results that drive business forward.  

Nahan prioritizes security by protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of customer data through multiple layers of technical, physical, and administrative controls including:  

  •  Secure file transfer processes including secure transport protocols, Secure FTP (SFTP)

  • PGP file encryption

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) including biometrics

  • Highly-trained staff with weekly, monthly, and annual security training sessions and modules

  • Secure online industry-standard proofing application

  • Customer data access protected with ACL’s, audit trail logging, and file integrity monitoring (if required)

  • Secure data deletion with Certificate of Destruction (if required) 

If you’d like to learn more about growing your business or increasing your ROI through direct mail, please contact us.

 

 

Author Bio: Bryan Formhals is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Nahan. His efforts focus on public relations, trade shows, sales support and other external marketing initiatives. He has over 20 years experience in digital marketing working across content, social media, strategy and communications. In his free time, Bryan enjoys photography and art, walking and hiking, and exploring parks and nature.

 

The Risk in Not Testing Your Direct Mail

 

Author: Alan Sherman, VP Marketing Strategy

If you’ve been in the direct marketing space for any amount of time, you’ve certainly heard about the importance of testing. But “testing” means different things to different people, and we see people approach it in a variety of ways. My colleague, Maggie Stack, recently published a blog on Direct Mail Testing. Consider this a prequel – insights into the risks of not testing.

Testing “Approaches” Run the Gamut

Some marketers don’t test on a consistent basis or simply don’t test at all. After mailing the same creative package, list or offer, for months or even years on end, they experience the inevitable performance decline, and think it may be time to test a new creative. Their creative team or agency offers a new creative that hopefully out-performs the old one and then the process repeats itself. Still other marketers occasionally test but are so risk averse that they test small creative attributes, such as a headline in a letter or on an envelope, which rarely moves the performance needle. And data testing happens less frequently than creative testing, even though data has a more significant impact on results.

A Fear of Testing

Why the reluctance to test? Some marketers simply don’t know how. Others may not want to risk the company’s budget on a test that may not out-perform the control. Sometimes it’s a combination of the two – “I don’t know how – so why take the chance?”

What About Data Testing? I hear less about this than creative testing.

Why is there so little data testing? Data can be tougher to test – nowadays it would be less likely for us to test an entire list. With the cost of postage, we must be as precise as possible. Segments or model groups within an audience are not always easily explained or understood. Many lists should not be mailed without the use of effective predictive models to rank prospects. It feels riskier than changing a creative headline, or maybe data is managed by another group in the organization.  Maybe the data testing setup and measurement can feel daunting. We can hold and touch creative – it feels more “real” than data and many of us like to think we intuitively know what works in creative when it’s sometimes best left to the direct mail creative experts. 😊 And yet data has a larger impact on response than creative.

The Risk in Not Testing Your Direct Mail

Some might apply the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” to direct mail testing. I would argue if it ain’t broke yet, it will be some day.  I would say that there is greater risk in NOT testing. Every creative package’s performance declines over time, and if you wait until that happens you could find yourself many months away from a new, high-performing package. The same applies to data. Doing nothing is short-term thinking that, over time, delivers inferior results. Regular testing is an investment that puts the long-term odds in your favor. Every test is an opportunity to learn and improve.

How frequent should testing be done?

Testing must be a regular ongoing process. Ideally, that means part of every campaign or at least testing quarterly. The aim is to develop a stable of high-performing creative packages and a precisely optimized audience by testing new data sources and predictive models to continually improve results.

We can make testing work for you. Testing is both art and science – Nahan offers both. We will continue to cover various aspects of testing in upcoming blogs.

 

Bio: Alan Sherman is our Vice President of Marketing Strategy. Alan enhances Nahan’s current value proposition with strategy solutions that support new/existing client relationships. For clients, he leverages market, customer, and competitive intelligence to build achievable strategies for omnichannel marketing success. His marketing plan strategies include targeted data, predictive analytics, testing, and creative that drive ongoing client performance improvement. In his spare time, Alan enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, going to concerts, watching sports (he’s a fan of the NY Giants, Boston Red Sox and Celtics), and walking the dog, even though it was just out.

 

 

 

Excitement Continues With The Success of Nahan’s East Coast Facility

 

Author: Michael Henry, VP Operations

 

As announced in April, Nahan recently acquired a second facility in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania. It has been an exciting past several months ramping up the facility and launching production. Our team is incredibly proud of all the hardworking individuals who made this addition possible.

From preparing equipment, to hiring a work force, to installation of new branding, and much more, many people had a hand in the success of this addition that enables faster speed to market.

Nahan East

Nahan East

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To celebrate this progress, we asked members of our Leadership Team to share a few sentiments regarding the facility and its team.

“Direct mail is the fastest-growing segment of our business,” said CEO Mike Ertel. “The addition of an East Coast facility strengthens our already best-in-class platform with improved cycle time, which is integral to our end-to-end direct marketing solution.”

“Marketers are seeking integrated solutions to increase agility, efficiency, and effectiveness,” said Mike Logar, SVP Sales and Marketing Services. “The addition of Nahan East puts us in a strong position to produce direct mail campaigns that will deliver high-performance results for our customers and drive business growth in a highly competitive market. We are super-pumped to have our PA facility online and are proud of the efforts by everyone who contributed to the launch.”

Aaron Weekes, VP Information of Technology and Adam Rohde, Manager of IT, had significant roles in getting all the technology in the facility in working order. Aaron stresses that the addition of this location is fantastic, “but the best thing about it is the amazing people. The team there takes pride in their work, they are knowledgeable about what they do, and are fun to work with as well.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exceptional team dynamic that has been cultivated at this location is a testament to the amazing people at this location. Dawn Volante Brown, VP Business Services says “I am impressed by the level of the energy and collaboration created between both our St. Cloud and Montgomeryville locations. We are quickly becoming a global Nahan with the benefit of two geographic locations.”

As the VP Operations of Nahan East, I am incredibly excited about the progress so far and I’m looking forward to expanding and growing the facility to support the platform in the months ahead.

 

 

Author Bio: Michael Henry is the VP Operations at our facility in Pennsylvania. He joined Nahan in 2022 and has over 30 years of leading and direction organizations, bringing valuable leadership experience in the direct mail industry. Away from work, Mike enjoys spending his time on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland with his family and friends.

Employee Spotlight: Ryan Newell

 

Author: Camille Lehmann, Senior Marketing Specialist

Earlier this year, we announced the exciting news of our addition of a second location in Pennsylvania. It has been a thrilling past few months getting the operations up and running. One of the people who has played an integral role in this success is Ryan Newell, Director of Manufacturing at our East Coast location. I had the privilege of getting to know Ryan better and what has made him proud to be a part of the Nahan team after only a few short months.

“One of my favorite parts about my job is producing something that is top quality and wows clients. Then add the fact that I get to be a part of a team that is so collaborative. We’re always learning from each other.”

-Ryan Newell, Director of Manufacturing

 

Ryan Newell

Ryan Newell, Director of Manufacturing

Coming Aboard Nahan

Ryan joined the Nahan team in March 2022 as a Production Shift Manager  at Nahan’s East Coast location in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania. In July 2022, he was promoted to Director of Manufacturing. Ryan began his direct mail career as a technician in Prepress, later moved to a Direct Mail Specialist in Lettershop, and then was promoted into various management positions. When asked what professional accomplishment he is most proud of, Ryan says that leading an initiative to implement a digital print platform is top of the list. And now he is excited to be adding starting and expanding the Nahan East Coast operations to that list. We are excited about what this second location means for the future of Nahan and the additional ways we can serve our customers. Ryan’s efforts are have been a huge part of driving success for Nahan East.

“The best piece of advice I’ve ever heard is to work hard, don’t cut corners, and always give the maximum of your ability.”

-Ryan Newell, Director of Manufacturing

Beyond Nahan

When Ryan isn’t busy helping lead the way for Nahan East, he enjoys spending time with his family in the beautiful mountains of Pennsylvania. You can almost always catch Ryan doing something outdoors in his free time. Whether it is fishing, hiking, hunting, or playing a round of golf or cornhole, Ryan’s there for some fun and fresh air. Thank you Ryan for being a dedicated member of our team!

 

Author Bio: Camille Lehmann is a Senior Marketing Specialist and has been on the Nahan team since January 2020. Camille is responsible for managing Nahan’s social media, blog content, and other internal and external content communications. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys visiting new coffee shops and restaurants with friends, playing tennis, and finding new Pinterest projects.

3 Benefits of Behavioral Targeting in Direct Mail Campaigns

 

Author: Camille Lehmann, Senior Marketing Specialist

 

If you’ve been in the direct marketing industry for any period of time, you’ve undoubtedly heard that data is a key driver of results. Better yet, highly targeted data. But this may leave marketers with the question – What kind of data should I use? The answer largely depends on your direct mail campaign history. Have you sent campaigns before, and do you have customer response data? If the answer is no, the first step is to begin with demographic targeting to be able to later use behavioral targeting for improved results in subsequent campaigns.

So what’s the difference between demographic targeting and behavioral targeting and how do you use them to increase your direct mail ROI?

Demographic Targeting Vs. Behavioral Targeting

Demographic targeting uses information such as age, gender, geographic location, income, and vocation to target an audience. While there are hundreds of additional data points available for use, the first time a brand mails, these are often the only data points available, since there is no previous response data. Demographic data is frequently used to create a predictive Lookalike (or Profile) Model as a first step to predict those most likely to respond. It is not ideal, as it is simply not as powerful as analytic tools that utilize past behavior. After enough initial responders are gathered, strategists and analysts use this information to learn which people have an affinity for the product and are likely to respond via direct mail. If creative tests were done, we gain insight into which type of creative copy and formats appeal to responders. The response data is used to build a more sophisticated response model, which utilizes both demographic and behavioral data. It is based on the principle that past behavior indicates and is predictive of future behavior.  We then implement behavioral targeting in the next campaign and beyond.

Behavioral targeting and analytics use a brand’s own data, usually in the form of direct mail response and corresponding purchase data for better acquisition results. Marketers must consider how they will capture and measure response, so that information can be used to inform future decisions, making behavioral targeting more successful. Examples of this include using custom QR codes, a personal URL only for that campaign, a 1-800 number, or promotional codes unique to each campaign file.

“By utilizing data across sources, we can identify highly predictive data elements—leading to greater response and conversion results.”

-Alan Sherman, VP Marketing Strategy

Once you acquire behavioral data, why should you consider using behavioral targeting in your next campaign?

Benefit #1: Advertise to Consumers Likely to Engage

When you target behaviorally, you are analyzing the behavior of past responders and using that behavior to find more consumers like them. Targeting likely responders means better results.

Benefit #2: Print Less, Spend Less

Using behavioral targeting is more cost-effective when the data is available. The more targeted your audience becomes, the smaller it gets. With rising paper and postage costs, a smaller, but more responsive audience becomes more efficient to reach, both from financial and environmental perspectives.

Benefit #3: Greater Marketing ROI

While your audience is smaller, it is also more responsive. No longer is money spent on people who have less interest in what you are selling. The combination of spending less on materials and having a more responsive pool equals a greater ROI.

 

We’re data experts at Nahan with access to more than 20 of the best data sources comprising over 25,000 data points. Our decades of experience paired with the amazing partners we work with, means you get service that can’t be beat. We’d love to help you reach your audience the best way possible with your direct mail campaign. Contact us today to find out how we can help you increase your ROI.

 

Author Bio: Camille Lehmann is a Senior Marketing Specialist and has been on the Nahan team since January 2020. Camille is responsible for managing Nahan’s social media, blog content, and other internal and external content communications. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys visiting new coffee shops and restaurants with friends, playing tennis, and finding new Pinterest projects.

 

4 Ways Nahan Makes Safety a Priority

 

Author: Doug Roob, Safety Coordinator

 

To be the top direct marketing solutions company, we need to have the top people in every department. How do you attract the top people – you give them an environment where they feel safe, heard, and appreciated. We’re honored to have consistently been awarded a Printing Industry Midwest Best Places to Work designation. Prioritizing the safety of our employees is always top-of-mind and a practice that we see flow naturally out of our team.

 

1. Committed Safety Team on Production Floor

When I started at Nahan in 1989, safety was controlled under department managers, the changes made to having a designated Safety Coordinator helped streamline safety policies. To raise more awareness of Nahan’s safety policies and to ensure employees are following best-practice procedures, we developed a Safety Team that comprises of employees across departments. This team serves as a link between employees and management where anyone can bring their safety ideas and suggestions to be brought up in Safety Meetings.

 

2. Monthly Online Safety Training

Working in a production facility naturally brings up many safety topics. We feel it is important to keep all of our employees updated on safety measures by using monthly, online safety training. Preventative measures like this can help us reduce injuries and time away from production, leading to more satisfied employees, and higher quality work for customers.

 

3. Monthly Safety Audits

To make sure that safety measures are being implemented consistently, monthly safety audits are completed. The results of these audits are shared with the Production Department to make any changes that are needed to minimize hazards, if not entirely eliminate them.

 

4. Priority of Safety Work Orders

At Nahan, safety is not an after-thought – our entire team is committed to it. Safety Work Orders are given top priority and are completed immediately by our Maintenance Department.

 

Helping employees recognize hazards, learn how to minimize them, and keep themselves and their teammates safe is why I love what I do. Nahan’s commitment to training employees on best practices and ensuring the safety of all, is a big reason I have been on the Nahan team for over 30 years.

 

Author Bio: Doug Roob started at Nahan in 1989 and began his role in Safety in 1992. His favorite part of the job is teaching people how to keep safe in the work environment, and the challenges that it can bring.

 

 

Insights from the 2022 National Postal Forum

 

Author: Brandon Jacklin, Manager of Logistics and Postal Affairs

 

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the 2022 National Postal Forum in Phoenix, Arizona. This annual conference always serves as a great opportunity to learn about the new happenings in the print and mailing industry, as well as connect with others in the field. This year’s theme was Facing the Future Together – a homage to overcoming the challenges remaining after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to the transformation taking place with the USPS’s Delivering for America initiative. Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, outlined several key initiatives the USPS is implementing, all of which are of interest for those in the print and mailing industry, as they will affect postal rates, delivery, and efficiency.

Increasing Service Standard Times

The USPS is implementing several improvements behind the scenes to drive better delivery performance while reducing costs. They are planning major capital investments into its processing network, facilities, retail locations and fleet.  This includes maximizing existing routes to ensure that trucks and planes are being sent at full capacity, and consolidating facility operations from multiple locations into one larger one, where possible, to increase efficiency.

Improving Employee Retention

Another focus of the USPS is improving employee amenities to help with workforce retention and morale. With employee shortages nation-wide, the USPS realizes it needs to increase the desire to stay for current employees who in many cases are facing higher demands. Some of these changes include improving the onboarding and training process, workplace safety, and updating equipment and vehicles. The USPS is seeking to electrify it’s entire fleet by no later than 2035.

Looking Towards the Future

Postmaster General, Louis Dejoy, acknowledged that the USPS has faced several industry headwinds in recent decades (not the least of which being the Covid-19 pandemic). However, he stressed that it is the postal service’s responsibility to rise up, remain competitive, and achieve its mandate of being a self-sustaining enterprise regardless of whatever challenges may exist. Under the Delivering for America plan, the post office anticipates operating with a positive net income beginning in fiscal year 2023 or 2024 and predicts reversing a projected $160 billion in losses over the next ten years.

 

Employee Spotlight: Erik Turbin

 

Author: Camille Lehmann, Senior Marketing Specialist

 

If you were to ask someone at Nahan what their favorite part about being on the team is, more likely than not, their answer is the people. Our people are where we take the greatest pride. One of those people is Erik Turbin, Direct Mail Production Supervisor. I had the opportunity to get to know more about Erik and why he has made Nahan his home for almost 10 years.

 

Erik Turbin

Erik Turbin, Direct Mail Production Supervisor

30 Years in the Print Industry 

Erik came to Nahan in 2013 with twenty years of experience in bindery, as well as being a supervisor. Since he started at Nahan, Erik has held the positions of Operator and Finishing Department Lead Trainer. This fall he will be celebrating an exciting personal milestone of 30 years in the print industry! Nahan is proud to have someone as talented and knowledgeable as Erik on the team, holding so many years of experience. In 2016, he even received the Production Professional of the Year award from Printing Industry Midwest (PIM). When asked what aspect of his career he is most passionate about, Erik responded that always being honest and fair to employees under his supervision is his priority, as well as helping people understand how every minute adds up to supporting both Nahan’s goals as well as their own personal goals.

 

“I love to see people meet a production goal and also work on building their relationships with others in the organization.”

-Erik Turbin, Direct Mail Production Supervisor

Beyond Nahan

When Erik is not busy leading his team at Nahan, he enjoys hunting, camping, and fishing (as he describes the normal Minnesota way of life). He also enjoys spending time with his wife, five children, and five grandchildren. When he has the opportunity, he loves to travel, citing the Boundary Waters up north as his favorite place so far. He hopes to visit Iceland and Bora Bora sometime in the future as well.

Careers at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our Careers page today!

 

Author Bio: Camille Lehmann is a Senior Marketing Specialist and has been on the Nahan team since January 2020. Camille is responsible for managing Nahan’s social media, blog content, and other internal and external content communications. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys visiting new coffee shops and restaurants with friends, playing tennis, and finding new Pinterest projects.

Direct Marketing Insights from NEMOA Spring Summit

 

Author: Bryan Formhals, Senior Marketing Specialist

As the economy continues to recover from the pandemic, marketers and brands are facing new challenges from rising input costs, labor shortages, and continued supply chain disruptions. With all this uncertainty, gaining an edge in the market and optimizing marketing programs becomes even more important. One place to gain insights is from industry peers and experts developing innovative solutions.

Every spring NEMOA (National Etailing & Mailing Organization of America) holds their first of two summits, bringing together leading experts to share their insights on the current market, providing the opportunity to network with peers, and have lively discussions about the biggest topics in the industry.

This year’s spring summit was held virtually and we at Nahan were thrilled to attend and present our roundtable conversation on ‘Extending your Catalogs Reach by Geo Targeting Mobile Users.’

We also attended several of the presentations and roundtables to learn what some of the best minds in the industry are thinking. Here are a few of the key takeaways:

DTC Brands Turn to Print Inserts

In ‘The Power of Marketing Via Print Inserts’ hosted by by Craig Kapilow, Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships RUE GILT GROUP, we learned how digitally-native brands are utilizing print inserts for brand awareness and customer acquisition.

They also offer a great way to delight when they open their packages by offering a little surprise, which everyone loves!  Another key advantage of print inserts is the ability to include offers from thirty party partners. Craig warned that brands shouldn’t try to do too much with their inserts and should make sure their brand and logo are always prominent, as well as including a crystal clear call to action and value proposition.

Getting Creative with Catalogs

 Catalogs are a big investment, making it critical marketers assure their effectiveness in engaging with their customers. In “Catalogs: Creative and Creation,” Brent Niemuth, J. Schmid spoke with Jackie Ardrey of Grandin Road and Bryan Seeley of BSW to learn their insights about tactics for creating beautiful, impactful catalogs.

For Seeley, catalogs are a great way to cut through the digital noise for their B2B focused customers in the broadcast industry. He recommends working with suppliers to help pay for catalogs, as well as featuring the people behind the brand, and most importantly, make it fun!

With Grandin Road, Ardey says catalogs are a source of inspiration and the best format for telling a broader and deeper brand story. Their customers are looking for inspiration and ideas and want to see something they have never seen. Their top tips are to elevate the creative by focusing on great photography and conveying personality through copy.

The Future of Print is Personalized

Digital inkjet technology is a significant trend for everyone in the print world. Ricoh’s Director of Global Marketing, Mike Herold hosted an insightful roundtable discussion on the “Opportunities and Obstacles in Customizable Print” with a few key takeaways that are going to be relevant for all marketers in the space.  

The COVID pandemic accelerated the decline of offset which is also facing labor shortages. There aren’t enough skilled employees to run offset equipment, so future growth will come on the backbone of digital solutions. Right now less than 1% of the 44 billion direct mail pieces produced annually are produced with inkjet technology, so there’s a lot of growth ahead.

One of the huge benefits of inkjet printing is the ability to personalize the campaigns, however customization does come at a higher cost. This tension requires marketers to work closely with their partners on optimization. In many cases, those higher costs will be offset by the higher response rate you get from personalized campaigns.

Smaller and more targeted runs, sometimes called ‘microruns’, are quicker and more customized, with programmatic print continuing to grow. Bottom line, traditional print is not going away, but how can you compliment it with digital to drive value? 

Taking Multi-Channel Marketing from Digital to Catalogs and Print

Many direct-to-consumer brands had great success building their brands through digital marketing, but with the cost increasing, some are diversifying to catalogs to increase engagement.

In a presentation called, ‘The Whys and Hows Of Beyond Digital Multi-Channel Marketing,’ Liz Dolinski, Chief Growth Officer of Lunya, shared how the three pillars of media diversification, customer journeys, and brand building have helped them grow in the face of steeper digital marketing costs.

With media diversification, she emphasized the importance of meeting customers where they are by not allowing one channel/partner to dominate your marketing spend.

Moving into the physical world with catalogs is a great way to tell the full brand story and create a deeper, richer experience. Since the lead times for print are much longer, they can be more difficult for agile marketing strategies.

A couple of tactics they have found successful are to follow up with a postcard when a customer unsubscribes from their newsletter and to add a copy of catalogs to gift boxes.

Conclusion

NEMOA brings together some of the best minds in the print industry. The presenters at the spring summit shared actionable insights that marketers can implement into their 2022 direct marketing strategies. We look forward to the fall summit to see how  these trends and insights evolve throughout the year.

 

 

Bio: Bryan Formhals is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Nahan. His efforts focus on public relations, trade shows, sales support, and other external marketing initiatives. He has over 20 years experience in digital marketing working across content, social media, strategy, and communications. In his free time, Bryan enjoys photography and art, walking and hiking, and exploring parks and nature.

 

Paper Market: 5 Insights for 2022

 

Author: Bryan Formhals, Senior Marketing Specialist

 

It doesn’t take long in the print industry to know that the current paper market is a tricky challenge to tackle. There are many different layers to consider when developing your direct mail and catalog strategy, but the most tangible element of your planning will always be your paper choices. Paper is what makes print….well, print!

Whether you’re a seasoned paper veteran, or new to print, you’ve undoubtedly realized that there are many variables to understand, including: pricing, size, finish, coating, sustainability, among others. The last two years have added a new layer of complexity with increasing paper shortages due to supply chain issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as fundamental shifts in the paper market. What does this mean? Marketers are facing unprecedented challenges when developing their direct mail and catalog campaigns. In such an environment, knowing the pulse of the industry and trends is more important than ever.

While we could certainly write a book on the topic (hey, this is our business and we love it!), we’re going to instead share the top tips and trends you need to know about making paper choices for your projects in 2022.

Stay Flexible When It Comes to Choosing Paper 

Paper availability looks different in 2022. What was used in your last project, might not be now, or might take longer to acquire than in prior years. The name of the game going forward is flexibility. For example, one might have to consider environmental certified versus recycled depending on availability and timing.

This is also a good opportunity to discover new paper types and sizes you haven’t tried before.

Small is the New Big

Want an easy way to combat the increase in paper prices? Go smaller. With paper prices increasing, it makes sense to try to use less of it. This doesn’t mean your mailer will lose impact. It means being concise and strategic with your messaging and creative design. Think “small but mighty.” A smaller mailer implementing best practices can have the desired impact and achieve your ROI. For example, we’ve helped several fashion retailers make a splash with mini catalogs that have a smaller paper footprint. Not only does it cut down on paper, but it also stands out in the mailbox.

Supply Chain Issues and the Resulting Delays

By now, the snags and snarls caused by the supply chain issues have been apparent in nearly every industry, forcing businesses to be nimble and adjust. For the paper market, transportation challenges have been a leading cause of delays and price increases. Rising energy and gas prices paired with a shortage of truck drivers have created a perfect storm for moving paper from the mills to printers. Experts expect some of these issues to slowly work themselves out over the year, but for the time being, patience is required.

The Paper Market is Changing

As with many industries the pandemic has disrupted and fundamentally changed the paper market. Many mills have had to shift production to producing corrugated cardboard to meet the increasing ecommerce demand and are suffering from the labor shortage as well. The result has been that paper companies are now setting allocations for paper delivery, with shipments requiring longer lead times, creating the shortage we’re all feeling.

Plan Early, and then Be Nimble

In an industry that requires effective planning with moving parts, the current headwinds with supply chain issues and paper shortages requires planning even further into the future. Once planning is in motion, you want to be nimble and know where you can make last minute adjustments. This is where it becomes important to work closely with vendors such as Nahan to help guide through the process and find opportunities for optimization.

“I’ve been telling clients they need to firm up circulations and place orders as soon as possible. They also should be open to trimming their mail file at the 11th hour to remove the populations they feel are less likely to respond,” Pat Nahan, VP of Client Solutions.

Conclusion

Paper may not be glamorous but it’s a crucial component in the success of any direct mail or catalog campaign. With supply chain challenges persisting and fundamental transformations taking place in the paper market, it’s important for marketers to understand the core industry taking place. While these new challenges create headwinds in executing campaigns, they can also create new opportunities for brands who plan with agility and partner with the experts.

 

 

Bio: Bryan Formhals is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Nahan. His efforts focus on public relations, trade shows, sales support and other external marketing initiatives. He has over 20 years experience in digital marketing working across content, social media, strategy and communications. In his free time, Bryan enjoys photography and art, walking and hiking, and exploring parks and nature.

 

The Dynamic Duo: Combining Direct Mail and Digital for Increased ROI

Author: Alan Sherman, VP of Marketing Strategy

Direct mail and digital ads are the ultimate power team. While compelling on their own, together they make a larger impact on the consumer, but this is increasingly difficult to achieve in the wake of the phasing out of third-party cookies.

For years, direct marketers have run cross-channel marketing programs that use third-party cookies to track user behavior across websites – we all see those ads that seem to follow us around online. In response to European and CA privacy regulations, third-party cookies have largely already been phased out by most browsers (now only relevant 40% of the time), such as Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome, which will fully phase out cookies in 2023.

So, if cookies are going away and direct marketers want to reach consumers at the same time across channels to lift and improve response, what do they do? 

Our Solution

Nahan’s solution is known as Direct Mail Companion™ (DM Companion™) – or if you’re a cataloger, it’s known as Catalog Companion™. The name may vary, but the solution remains the same. And what a solution it is! You can now leverage the power of your targeted offline prospect or customer files to create a seamless message before, during, and after your direct mail or catalog in-home date, leading to greater response and higher ROI.

DM Companion™ is a multi-channel marketing program that combines direct mail and mobile targeting. We leverage the direct mail file and target the same recipient via their mobile devices in their homes. The targeting process is based on geocoding technology that achieves a 100% match rate (except for multi-dwelling units) between the direct mail file and the digital universe.

Those that click the ads on their phones are further retargeted across digital channels and other known devices, all without the use of third-party cookies.

Respecting Privacy

We respect consumer privacy by leveraging mobile device ID, which is not considered Personal Identifiable Information (PII). It does not leverage cookies or IP address targeting and is not subject to digital privacy restrictions.

Results Are Impressive

Click-through rate results are typically 2x higher than traditional digital display campaigns, with a 50–75% reduction in cost-per-click and the added  frequency provides incremental response rate improvement of 20%+ over direct mail alone. Recipients can be digitally targeted before the mailing is delivered to build awareness, during the in-home delivery period, and during the remainder of the response cycle. This program uses a highly targeted, cost-effective approach that streamlines the path to response, and is proven across every industry we work with.

Multiple contacts to the same people across multiple channels translate to un-matched results. To find out more about DM and Catalog Companion™, get in touch with your Nahan representative or reach me at alan.sherman@nahan.com.

Bio: Alan Sherman is our Vice President of Marketing Strategy. Alan enhances Nahan’s current value proposition with strategy solutions that support new/existing client relationships. For clients, he leverages market, customer, and competitive intelligence to build achievable strategies for omnichannel marketing success. His marketing plan strategies include targeted data, predictive analytics, testing and creative that drive ongoing client performance improvement. In his spare time, Alan enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, going to concerts, watching sports (he’s a fan of the NY Giants, Boston Red Sox and Celtics) and walking the dog, even though it was just out.

Nahan Announces Investment in New Technology from Canon Solutions America

SAINT CLOUD, MN – November 17, 2021 – Nahan announced that it has expanded its digital printing platform with the addition of the ProStream 1800, manufactured by Canon Solutions America. “This state-of-the-art continuous feed inkjet press will enable Nahan to deliver highly targeted and personalized print at exceptional speeds with award-winning quality and flexibility, unlike anything we’ve seen,” said Nahan CEO Mike Ertel.

Speed

With the ability to produce over 62 million letter impressions per month, the ProStream will increase Nahan’s overall capacity, while reducing production cycle times and enabling faster speed to market for its clients. 

Quality

Setting a new benchmark for inkjet quality, the ProStream1800 provides a color gamut beyond offset standards on most papers. At full speed, the ProStream leverages 1,200 dpi resolution with Canon multi-level ink drop size modulation for smooth shadings, striking details in dark tones, and sharp fonts.

Flexibility

The ProStream allows for flexibility across a wide range of media, including standard offset coated, uncoated, and inkjet optimized papers from 40gsm to 300gsm. This will allow Nahan to efficiently produce a wider range of formats than ever before, from premium direct mail, to catalogs, self-mailers, and more. Another compelling feature of the ProStream is that it can produce fully variable 4-color catalog covers in-stream – a new and unique advance in capabilities for Nahan.

“We’re proud to partner with Canon Solutions America on this investment in our future,” said Paul Overn, Vice President, Operations at Nahan. “Their constant innovation and support is invaluable as it has enabled us to meet our customers’ increasing needs for speed and personalization.”

About Nahan

Nahan is an award-winning, privately owned, direct marketing and print solutions company. Nahan leverages the power of omnichannel marketing strategy, creative, data, and analytics coupled with exceptional production and postal strategies to closely connect brands with customers. For more information about Nahan, please visit http://www.Nahan.com.

About Canon Solutions America, Inc.

Canon Solutions America, Inc. provides industry leading enterprise, production, and large format printing solutions, supported by exceptional professional service offerings. Canon Solutions America, Inc. helps companies of all sizes discover ways to improve sustainability, increase efficiency, and control costs in conjunction with high volume, continuous feed, digital and traditional printing, and document management solutions. For more information on Canon Solutions America, please visit csa.canon.com.

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Nahan Named Top Digital Agency in Minnesota by DesignRush

St. Cloud, MN — November 2, 2021 — Nahan has been named a Top Digital Marketing Agency in Minnesota by DesignRush.

DesignRush is a B2B marketplace that connects brands with professional full-service agencies, web design companies, digital marketing firms, direct marketing firms and top technology companies. Their platform lists over 9,300 agencies from over 50 different countries and is consulted by thousands of decision-makers looking to start a project.

“We’re excited for Nahan to be recognized for driving performance improvement for clients through our integrated suite of services,” said Alan Sherman, VP-Marketing Strategy. “We’re proud to be a true one-stop-shop for all of their direct marketing needs.

Nahan’s team of experts across strategy, data, creative, production, postal logistics and fulfillment enable our clients to successfully acquire, develop, and retain profitable customer relationships, while continuously improving Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).

To learn more about Nahan, visit: https://www.nahan.com/what-we-do/

To learn more about DesignRush, visit: https://www.designrush.com/

Halloween Special: Getting Started with Printing Isn’t “Scary”

Authors: Nahan Marketing Team

Halloween is right around the corner! Our business is “boo”ming this time of the year and our presses are running nonstop. So, we thought we’d have some fun answering some frequently asked questions with a few Halloween puns.  You’re in for a real “treat” and maybe a few “tricks.”

Why are so many of our customers starting to add print campaigns again into their marketing strategies, even if they have taken a break from print or have never printed before?

Many customers come to us because they have been under the “spell” of the same old marketing tactics and they are looking for something new to break it. Some customers are looking for strategies like loyalty mailings to bring their “zombie” customers back to life. Others are looking to leave their competition in the “shadows” with awesome new campaign strategies. No matter the circumstance, we always say don’t let print “scare” you. We’re here to help and have a “ghoulishly” good time at Nahan. We love new “tricks” on our equipment and love to “treat” our customers to amazing quality print. We also offer a whole “web” of services to our customers so they are well taken care of.

Once someone decides to add a print campaign to their strategy, what sort of things should they think about?

First of all, you’ll want to think about your goals and what you want to achieve. What do you want your print project to do for you – drive sales, acquire new customers, bring customers into your store, etc.? You will no doubt want to take advantage of our Mail expertise, as Direct Mail marketing has significant response rates and we want the project to be as successful as you do.

Once you have the details for the project, our team will create a quote for you and we’ll put together a project schedule.

How about paper selection?

While our industry is facing a “scary” paper shortage, do not “panic.” our Sales Representatives are here to help you work through any issues for your particular project. Our responsive and adaptable team is here to serve you every step of the way despite industry capacity shortages.

My catalog has MANY pages, does it need “creep?”

Depending on how many pages, your book may need “creep” because when taking a “face trim” off, we wouldn’t want to lose any “digits.” Creep refers to the moving of margins in the document when the pages are folded. The amount of creep varies depending on how many pages are in your catalog. Our team will then trim off an paper creeping out of the cover for a professional finish. Our skilled experts will take care of that for you.

My project has “bleed?”

Yes, if your image extends to the edge of the page, you will want 1/8” extra image so that your image can “bleed” off the page.

Will my project be prone to “ghosting?” 

When we talk about the term “ghosting back,” we are referring to an image being lightened up to use as a background or other light accent. However, there are many undesirable “traps” that can happen when printing large solids. If your solid image has reversed type or white knockouts a few different types of “ghosting” can appear.

Mechanical “ghost” is a “phantom” image on the printed side of the sheet caused by ink “starvation.” It can be quite “menacing.” You will need a well-maintained machine with highly skilled operators to help eliminate it.

Chemical “ghosts” appear ominously when the ink is drying, caused by a differentiated dry speed and gaseous emissions, leaving a “ghosted” image on the other side of the sheet (in the solids). Experienced operators with a lot of training, R&D, and quality products help eliminate this as well. This type of ghost generally only happens on coated papers.

So, if you’re concerned about “ghosting,” who you gonna call? “Ghostbusters!” Just kidding, you can call us and we will help!

Getting Started with Printing

Can I get help with creative design?

Does getting the best direct mail design seem too “mysterious?” We’re here to help! We have a team committed to providing creative services unique to your needs. With decades of experience, our creative department delivers impactful and targeted direct mail design focused on improving your Return on Marketing Investment. Whether we are providing format ideation or full creative development, we collaboratively work with our clients to help solve their marketing challenges.

Employee Spotlight: Lisa Palm

Author: Camille Lehmann, Marketing Coordinator

Our team consists of some amazing individuals, all dedicated to the Nahan mission focused on consistently exceeding expectations. Lisa Palm, one of our Production Managers, has been dedicated to that mission throughout her Nahan career and we couldn’t be more thankful for her commitment. We’re excited to share more about Lisa and her time at Nahan.


Lisa Palm, Production Manager

Lisa’s Career in Direct Mail

After graduating college with a degree in advertising and design, Lisa’s print journey expanded into multiple roles, including Prepress Production Specialist, Electronic Prepress Technician, and Production Artist. Her time in the print industry took her to various companies, including Nahan. After a few years away from Nahan, Lisa decided that she missed the sense of values, individuality, and worth that Nahan emphasized. In 2011, she returned to Nahan as a Customer Service Representative. Over the following five years, Lisa held the roles of Technical Service Rep, Project Coordinator, and was promoted to Account Manager. At the time, Lisa was confident her role in Account Management was her forever home. She enjoyed taking a project from point-of-sale to completion, along with the knowledge of the industry she was gaining. However, it wasn’t until she took a risk and applied to be a leader in Production that she realized her true calling. In 2017, Lisa became a Finishing Shift Leader, ultimately leading to her becoming Nahan’s first woman Production Manager in 2021. Her willingness to lead and participate in many workflow teams throughout her time at Nahan prepared her well to take on challenges and serve her team. Overall, it’s not Lisa’s accomplishments that make her proudest, but the growth of her team, emphasizing that it is the job of leaders to grow more leaders.

“Michelle Motschke, one of my mentors, taught me the value of tolerance, patience, and trust in business.”


Lisa Palm, Production Manager

Fun fact – Lisa and her husband, Tim, met at Nahan in 2009

Beyond Nahan

Lisa’s other greatest passion is her family, whom she describes as very close-knit and who taught her how to be courageous and have a kind heart. She enjoys getting to use her leadership qualities to support and cheer on her loved ones, whether it’s golfing with her husband or helping her son (who she says is growing up way too fast) with school and the challenges of being a teenager. She takes every chance possible to return to her roots in Madison, Wisconsin to spend cherished time with family. Lisa also enjoys spending time outdoors exploring with her family and two dogs, Freyja and Grizzly Bear, running half marathons, and cheering on the Packers.

 


Lisa’s son and their two dogs

“The best advice I’ve ever received is to be strong and listen to yourself, your value, and your worth. Don’t let others dictate your path. Rise above and make your dreams a reality.”


-Lisa Palm, Production Manager

Careers at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our careers page or contact us to learn more.

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She graduated with her Master’s of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

USPS Postage Rates Updated 2021: Cost-Effective Mailing Solutions

Author: Brandon Jacklin, Logistics Specialist

As of August 29, 2021, the USPS has released updated postage rates (printable chart can be downloaded here). These postal rate increases will enable the USPS to provide reliable and predictable service while ensuring its financial sustainability. The plan will support a precise and efficient processing and transportation network, positioning the USPS to deliver 95 percent of all mail and packages on-time. More information about FAQ’s about USPS rate changes can be found here.

Larger Maximum Allowable Size for First-Class Postcards

A positive development for marketers, is that the new plan includes an increase in the first-class postcard maximum dimensions from 4.25 x 6” to 6 x 9”, providing additional space for information and branding.

Compared to 6″x9” marketing mail, a 6″x9” First-Class postcard offers many additional benefits including 1-5 business day delivery, return to sender, address correction, and forwarding services. Under the new plan, it also comes with a much smaller upcharge than in the past when jumping from Standard to First-Class. Postcards provide an affordable and effective way to drive business. With the ability to be highly personalized and in-home quickly at a great price, this is a wonderful opportunity for marketers.

Co-Mail, Commingle, and Drop-Shipping Options Help Keep Postage Rates Low

There are a variety of ways that a finished mail piece can be shipped to a customer. Three of the most common methods include co-mail, commingle, and drop ship. Co-mail is used for catalogs and flat-sized pieces. In this type of shipment, multiple jobs are combined, enhancing the pre-sort, which gives the customer the lowest postage price. Commingling is used for letter-sized pieces and helps to save postage while combining mailings similarly co-mail. These two methods are most cost-effective for those mailing smaller quantities. Lastly, drop shipping consolidates pallets with other pallet jobs and then delivers them to postal facilities around the country. This method is beneficial for geographically concentrated quantities as well as the ability to hit a tight in-home window. Our postal and logistics experts at Nahan are here to help you navigate which shipping option is the best for your needs.

How Nahan Provides Cost-Effective Mailing Solutions

  • Logistics expertise – We have a team of logistics experts to help our customers determine the best mailing and transportation method for their needs. The team is always on top of what’s going on with industry changes and is quick to respond.
  • Multiple shipping methods – As explained above, we have three primary shipping options: co-mail, commingle, and drop-ship, all of which our team of experts can help you choose from to best support your needs.
  • Advocating for our customers – Throughout industry changes, we remain committed to finding the best postage rates for our customers and by the best means possible relative to desired transit times and in-home dates.

The printing and direct marketing industry could not exist without the partnership of the USPS to deliver your eye-catching and action-driving piece to your consumer. The team at Nahan is here to help you find solutions to minimize postage and transportation costs and drive improved marketing return on investment (ROI).

Employee Spotlight: Pete Schwarzkopf

Author: Camille Lehmann, Marketing Coordinator

Our employees are our greatest asset. We are so thankful for their dedication to the Nahan team and their commitment to going above and beyond for our customers. I’d like to introduce you to Pete Schwarzkopf, one of our Account Executives and someone who you can always count on to have a sense of humor. We are excited to be sharing more about Pete and his time at Nahan so far.

Pete Schwarzkopf, Account Executive

Pete’s Career in Direct Mail

Pete started at Nahan in December of 2020. Since graduating from the Western Wisconsin Technical College and University of Wisconsin – Stout, Pete has been a part of the print industry. He began his career running presses at a small print shop in Viroqua, WI, and went on to spend the next 20 years in positions ranging from Account Manager, to purchasing agent and Account Executive. Pete explains that the sense of accomplishment he feels booking a job for a new client after persevering in patience is his greatest work accomplishment.  He is passionate about exceeding customers’ expectations and says positive feedback from clients keeps that passion going. Knowing that the team knocked it out of the park on a project makes the job exciting and continually makes him committed to doing the same with every customer. Pete also enjoys the aspect of his Account Executive role that he likes to call being the “Swiss Army Knife” of the team – supporting and helping wherever he can to make each department successful.

Knowing that we both knocked a job out of the park and that it’s a win for our company financially, that’s something that keeps me passionate about growing and retaining our customers!”

Pete Schwarzkopf, Account Executive

Life Beyond Nahan

Outside of the office, Pete first and foremost enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He credits his wife as the person who inspires him the most – not only in her dedication to her career but her ability to keep the family organized and on task! He also enjoys being able to get outside and camp, fish, and play golf (although he admits golf can be a bit of a struggle sometimes). Visiting local breweries in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities and family vacations are also favorite activities. So far, a few of his favorite travel destinations have been the Rivera Maya region of Mexico and Ireland, and he hopes to visit Alaska and Hawaii sometime soon.

“The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given, as corny as it is, is that tackling something hard can always be broken down into smaller tasks so it’s not so daunting.”

-Pete Schwarzkopf, Account Executive

Careers at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our careers page or contact us to learn more.

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She graduated with her Master’s of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

Nahan Appoints Jim Andersen to Board of Directors

SAINT CLOUD, MN – August 17, 2021 – Nahan has announced that Jim Andersen joined its Board of Directors. In this role, Andersen will help Nahan chart its’ course for rapid growth. Andersen brings over 40 years of experience in the direct marketing industry, including leadership positions at Banta Corporation, and his most recent role as Chief Executive Officer at IWCO Direct, where he led the company to unprecedented growth for over 20 years.

“Jim is a legendary leader and visionary. His track record of success is unmatched in this industry, and he has an incredible passion for the business. We’re thrilled and grateful to welcome him to our board of directors,” said Nahan CEO, Mike Ertel.

Andersen’s accolades include being honored with the 2010 Harry V. Quadracci VISION award from the Printing Industries of America, as well as being inducted to the Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame in 2008. He has served on the boards of the Printing Industry of Minnesota, the Envelope Manufacturers Association, Minnesota Business Partnership (MBP), and on the Direct Marketing Association’s finance committee.

For almost 60 years, Nahan has been known for providing the highest level of quality and innovation in the printing industry to some of the world’s largest and most recognizable brands. Earlier this year, it was announced that the company would expand its service offering to include marketing strategy, creative, data, and analytics.

“I’m excited to join Nahan at this crossroads in its’ history. We have a world-class production platform, a holistic, end-to-end marketing services solution, amazingly talented and experienced employees, and an entrepreneurial culture that fosters our ability to be nimble and innovative at a level most companies can’t match,” said Andersen. “And we have big plans for the future. I can’t wait to get started.”

About Nahan

Nahan is a world-class, privately owned, direct marketing services and print solutions company. Nahan produces integrated marketing solutions for their clients, enabling them to successfully acquire, develop, and retain profitable customer relationships. Nahan leverages the power of omnichannel marketing strategy, creative, data, and analytics coupled with exceptional production and postal strategies to closely connect brands with customers. For more information about Nahan and to learn more about joining the Nahan team, please visit http://www.Nahan.com.

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Employee Spotlight: Jim Dombrovske

Author: Camille Lehmann, Marketing Coordinator

A big part of what makes Nahan a great place to be is our amazing employees! I’d like to introduce you to Jim Dombrovske, our Shift Leader for 2nd Shift Finishing. We are happy to be sharing more about Jim and his time at Nahan.

Jim Dombrovske

27 Years of Dedication to Nahan

Jim began his career at Nahan in July 1994 as a Helper in the Bindery Department. Soon after, he was promoted to a Cutter Operator, which was the first of many promotions over the years. In his twenty-seven years, Jim has worked in the role of both Folder Operator 1 and 2, Stitcher Operator and has worked on various presses. Since October of 2019, Jim has been in the role of Shift Leader for 2nd Shift in Finishing. He considers his promotion to Shift Leader as his proudest achievement at Nahan. Additionally, Jim has loved the opportunities Nahan has given him to travel, including a memorable trip to Switzerland for training.

“I am most passionate about not only meeting the company’s expectations, but also the needs for the team I work with daily.”

Jim Dombrovske, Shift Leader, 2nd Shift Finishing

Beyond Nahan

When Jim is not busy working hard at Nahan, he enjoys spending quality time with his wife and three sons. In his extra time, Jim likes being outside either playing a few rounds of golf or relaxing with some fishing. His biggest passion is volunteering as a Peer Recovery Coach, spending as much time as he can helping anyone who struggles with substance abuse.

“While I’ve received much great advice in my life, the best so far has been to write down ten things I am grateful for if I am having a bad day. I had asked how this would help and was told a grateful thinking mind will replace a negative thinking mind. The two can’t exist at the same time.”

Jim Dombrovske, Shift Leader, 2nd Shift Finishing

Careers at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our careers page or contact us to learn more.

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She graduated with her Master’s of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

Nahan Takes Home Best of Category at 2021 PIM Star Awards

SAINT CLOUD, MN – June 22, 2021 – Nahan has received a Best of Category award win at the 2021 Star Awards, hosted by Printing Industry Midwest (PIM). The Star Awards is an annual five-state print competition that recognizes excellence in print quality in the printing, communication, and graphic arts industries.

Nahan was proud to receive the award for Best of Category – Booklets, which is the highest award a printer can receive in this category, for a mailer produced for an international natural fragrances company. Nahan also received four Awards of Recognition in the Booklet, Product/Service Catalog, and Consumer Promotional Campaigns categories, and three Certificates of Merit.

It was also an honor to have our very own, Aaron Weekes, Director of Technology and Service Operations, speak at the event on behalf of the PIM Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DE&I) Program. This program is a “coalition of graphic communications companies and professionals. The coalition works to solve the racial inequities in our industry and to promote diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace” (https://www.pimw.org/pim-diversity/).

(https://www.pimw.org/pim-diversity/).

About PIM Star Awards

The PIM Star Awards competition recognizes the companies, teams, and individuals who take part in the creation and production of print communications in the Midwest. For more information about the Printing Industry Midwest Star Awards, please visit www.pimw.org or call PIM’s office at 612.400.6200.

About Nahan

Nahan is a world-class, privately owned, direct marketing services and print solutions company. Nahan produces integrated marketing solutions for their clients, enabling them to successfully acquire, develop, and retain profitable customer relationships. Nahan leverages the power of omnichannel marketing strategy, creative, data, and analytics coupled with exceptional production and postal strategies to closely connect brands with customers. For more information about Nahan and to learn more about joining the Nahan team, please visit http://www.nahan.com.

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Nahan Announces New CEO as Mike Nahan Retires

SAINT CLOUD, MN – June 16, 2021 – After decades of leadership as Nahan’s CEO, Mike Nahan, the son of company founders Jim and Helen Nahan, has announced his retirement effective June 7, 2021. Nahan will serve as an active board member following his retirement as CEO.

Mike Ertel has been named as Nahan’s new CEO, effective June 7, 2021. Mike Ertel is a highly respected industry veteran who brings a wealth of industry experience and an entrepreneurial mindset that will continue to propel Nahan into the future. Mike is excited to join the Nahan team and to continue the legacy, momentum, and explosive growth that Nahan is experiencing.

“Nahan is well on its way to becoming the leading provider of direct marketing services and print in the country, and I am thrilled to join this award-winning organization,” said Mike Ertel, CEO of Nahan. “With double digit growth planned in 2021, major equipment investments underway, and a recent influx of new talent, Nahan is positioned for explosive growth, now more than ever before. And the best part is we are just getting started.”                

For almost 60 years, Nahan has been known for superior print production and distribution. With a client roster of legendary brands, Nahan prints iconic work that represents some of the highest level of quality and innovation in the industry. Nahan’s client base includes many of the most well-known brands across the U.S. and globally.

In January of this year, Nahan announced an expansion of services to include a Marketing Services division. Nahan now leverages the power of omnichannel marketing strategy, creative, data, and analytics—coupled with world-class print production and postal strategies—to closely connect brands with customers. Check out the video introducing Nahan’s marketing services here: https://youtu.be/2094UttFo1E

“After 37 years serving as CEO, I could not be prouder of how our company has evolved, and I am immensely excited for this next chapter in our company’s growth. I can’t wait to see Mike Ertel drive Nahan’s success to even higher levels,” said Mike Nahan.

About Nahan

Nahan is a world-class, privately owned, direct marketing services and print solutions company. Nahan produces integrated marketing solutions for their clients, enabling them to successfully acquire, develop, and retain profitable customer relationships. Nahan leverages the power of omnichannel marketing strategy, creative, data, and analytics coupled with exceptional production and postal strategies to closely connect brands with customers. For more information about Nahan and to learn more about joining the Nahan team, please visit http://www.Nahan.com.

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New at Nahan

Author: Nick Hammitt

Being “The New Guy” (T.N.G.) at a company can be a tall task for any person. I personally have been the new guy at several different companies in multiple types of industries. T.N.G is always a new and unique experience, but share that same common feeling of nervousness on that first day. You ask yourself, “How can I overcome being T.N.G.?” It wasn’t long before I quickly realized that I didn’t have to worry about that here at Nahan.

Nick Hammitt, Marketing Intern

Day 0

In the past, I’ve had some not-so-good experiences applying for jobs online, and with Covid happening, I found myself doing it more now than ever. That’s why it’s always a relief to me when the job application process is user-friendly. The Nahan careers website was exactly that. It was easy for me to seamlessly scroll through the Careers page, find the posted job, and complete the steps needed to apply. The website was smooth, easy to navigate, and was filled with useful information. Since I live so far from the company, being able to do all of this remotely was important to me. The teamwork between the marketing and recruiting team was unmatched making it easy for me to traverse through the hiring process remotely.

Day 1

On my first day at the office, as usual, I was nervous about what to expect. Most of the people I had never met before and let’s face it, I was T.N.G. It was a happy surprise for me when I was given such a warm welcome by everyone I met. They seemed just as excited for me to be there as I was, making for a great first experience I won’t soon forget. As much as this team was welcoming, they were also about getting right down to business. Just like the easy application and hiring process, the orientation process I experienced when I arrived here was just the same, smooth, concise, and filled with important training information that would further help me down the road. It will definitely take some time for me to learn the ropes, but the hands-on collaborative training I received just on the first day leads me to believe it won’t be long before I too am an effective member of the team.

Day 7  

In my first week, I learned a lot about not only my individual job, but I had a chance to meet team members in other departments to learn how everyone works together towards the same goal as a whole team. Nahan is a large company, and there are a lot of moving parts that go into making a quality product. One of the most important things I learned so far is that Nahan’s success is due to the complete collaborative effort between all the members of the Nahan team. Communication is key for any successful business to thrive. Things like the monthly eNewsletter, (subscribe at the footer of any page of the website) and weekly collaborative meetings, allow for the teams to be informed and aware of each other’s ideas and important events that are in the works. They also ensure everyone is set up for success.

Today

I was excited to start my job, now a couple of weeks later, I’m excited to start my career. I’ve been set up for success thanks to the problem-solving and detailed oriented teams at Nahan. The training I received was given to me by some of the most experienced and knowledgeable members of the team. Thanks to this team, I was able to quickly find my spot among them in a position that I feel is best suited to grow my creative talents inside an advancing industry. Nahan has given me the tools to be the best asset I can be. There’s only up from here. As Mike Logar, SVP of Business Development best put it, “Nahan is rocket ship launching ahead and we’re just strapping in preparing for the ride.”

Bio: Before Nahan I was T.N.G. at several different places. Right out of high school, I decided I wasn’t ready or wanting to go to college, so I joined the Army. I learned things there I wouldn’t learn anywhere else. It gave me the tools and confidence to do anything I set my mind to. It was shortly after coming home from the military that I decided I wanted to be a welder. I loved the thought of being able to take an idea from my head put it to paper and then create it. It wasn’t long before I realized welding isn’t something I wanted as a career though. I then decided to enroll in business school and last December, I graduated with a Marketing Degree from the University of San Francisco. Now here at Nahan, instead of me creating with my hands I’m creating with my mind. In my free time I like to spend it on the course, playing very mediocre golf. I grew up hunting and fishing so when I get a chance to do that, you’ll either find me on a lake or in the woods. SKOL!

Humor in the Workplace: It’ll Get You Through Pretty Much Anything

Author: Ben Schemelin, Account Executive

Earlier this year I was blessed to be sharing some laughs with friends and former colleagues while we attended a retirement party for one of my mentors. We recalled humorous stories from two decades ago – jokes, crazy circumstances, our various quirks – so many fond memories came rushing back.

As we departed with full hearts and our sides aching from laughter, my friend handed over one last piece of business (and life) wisdom from his four decades in the industry: “You know, as stressful as our business can be, laughter will get you through pretty much anything.”

As I walked to my car that evening, I started to reflect on how critical laughter and joy is to a thriving workplace environment.

Humor in the Workplace – The Benefits

It is no secret that strong communication is critical to any successful business. For anyone who has had to sit through a dull presentation, it’s probably safe to say that your mind started to wander and your retention of the information being communicated began to fade with each passing moment. Compare that experience to one where a masterful storyteller wove an engaging narrative mixed with humorous anecdotes. It becomes easy to see how our natural deeper engagement in an entertaining storyline facilitates our ability to pick up other important details along the way. The same principle applies in other communications we engage in: the right mix of humor will draw people in and ideas are more easily absorbed.

There are numerous studies that show that a healthy dose of humor actually increases brain function, boosts creative problem solving, deepens interpersonal connections, builds trust/collaboration, and breaks down barriers between individuals just to name a few of the additional benefits.

Leaders who utilize humor effectively in their roles often foster healthier work cultures where employees are more at ease, have higher morale, and are more productive overall.

Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

The world renowned Mayo Clinic sites the researched physical and physiological stress relief that laughter has on our bodies. Our organs (namely heart, lungs, and brain) all see immediate, tangible benefits from a good amount of regular laughter. Tension and stress decrease as our bodies respond to humorous stimuli in the form of decreased heart rates and lower blood pressure.

The chemical response of our bodies over time to a humor-and-joy lifestyle can lead to improved immunity, natural pain relief, better coping stills, improved outlook on life, and deeper and richer connections with those around us.

In today’s crazy world, doesn’t that sound like a great prescription for a better, more fulfilling life?

Workplace Humor 101

With all of these benefits, there are some practical application items that we should all keep in mind:

  • Know Your Audience – The ability to “read the room” is key for any comedic endeavor. In my early 20’s I cracked a “Dumb & Dumber” type of joke at lunch during my first week of employment, and my two new colleagues looked at me like I had a horn growing out of my head. They didn’t know me, and I didn’t know them well enough – so it landed awkwardly. It may have gotten a chuckle six months down the road when we had an established rapport, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution if you think a wisecrack may not resonate with your audience.
  • Don’t Force It – Like the example above, don’t try to make a joke simply for the sake of being funny. Unless the sign outside your office reads “The Improv” – you are not being paid to be a comedian trying out cutting edge humor on colleagues. The best workplace humor should come organically and feel natural.
  • Laughing With, Not At – Self-deprecating humor can show you are relatable and do not take yourself too seriously, but humor at the expense of others is a completely different story and should be avoided. It’s always best for humor to be pointed at situations rather than people.
  • Keep it Clean – If you would not say something if HR happened to be walking past your office, it’s probably best to leave a quip on the cutting room floor of your brain.

Humor, laughter, and finding joy in the workplace every day can be an important pillar of a thriving business culture – as well as increasing job satisfaction. It’s one of the many aspects of Nahan’s culture that I’ve quickly come to appreciate and cherish.

It’s been said that the average 4 year old laughs 300 times a day, while the average adult laughs less than 20. I’d say it’s time for us to rediscover the simpler joys that can be found in our everyday lives!

What is one thing you can do to can bring an extra smile or laugh to someone in your workplace? Do it today – and make it a daily habit!

Bio: Ben Schemelin is a 28-year industry veteran and an Account Executive with Nahan. He’s passionate about taking a 40,000 foot view of projects, and then zooming in on the finite details to creatively problem solve, enhance workflows, and most importantly serve clients’ wants and needs above their expectations as a team. In his spare time, Ben enjoys motorcycling, grilling/cooking, woodworking, camping, fishing, & biking. He also likes cheering for the Green Bay Packers, much to the chagrin of his diehard Minnesota Viking-fan wife and daughter.

Direct Marketing Strategy: Direct Mail Testing

Author: Maggie Stack, Account Director

At least once a week, while doing homework, one of my kids will say “when will I ever use this in real life?” I like to point out to them how often I use my Algebra skills, but I never thought I would use science in my marketing career. As my colleague, Alan Sherman, mentioned in a previous blog, we use direct mail testing to determine the best direct marketing strategy. This is where science comes in. By following the steps of the scientific method with a continuous improvement mindset, we aim to exceed our clients’ marketing goals.

Purpose

When thinking about our clients’ direct marketing strategy, our question is always how can we improve results. The exact Key Performance Indicator (KPI) we are trying to improve varies by client, but it always means a better Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).

Research

We start by reviewing current marketing efforts. Who is the target audience? What motivates them to respond? What tactics are currently being used? How do those tactics work together?

Hypothesis

Once our research is complete, we make recommendations for the elements or options we believe will improve results. Sometimes this is the choice to reduce the cost of a campaign while maintaining response and sometimes it is a higher cost option that will improve response. This could be a new data source, a new offer positioning, a new direct mail format, or addition of a complimentary digital tactic. In direct marketing, the options are truly endless. Once we decide on what will be tested, we can begin the experiment!

Experiment

The two most commonly used experiments in direct mail testing are a split test and a multivariate test. Split tests, or A/B tests, involve testing the same package except for the specific element to be tested. Multivariate testing involves testing multiple elements at the same time. The right one to use is based on several factors: budget, available quantity, quantity needed for the result to be statistically significant, and the number of items we want to test. Once the experiment is in the hands of the prospects, we wait for results.

Analyze Data

Depending on what we are measuring, results could take months to gather. There must be enough responders to be confident in the results. Analysis comes in the form of charts and graphs. Our goal is to always improve results, but sometimes we learn what does not work. As my high school science teacher would say after a failed experiment, “if you learned something, the experiment wasn’t wasted.” In direct marketing, the win in a losing test is that it leads to better, more refined hypotheses.

Conclusion

While there is a conclusion to every individual experiment, direct mail testing should never end.  We believe marketers should always be striving to improve their data, improve their messaging, and improve the tactics they use. And we love partnering with those that feel that same. Looking to apply a little bit of the scientific method to your direct marketing strategy? We are here to help.

Bio: Maggie Stack is an Account Director with over 20 years of experience in marketing services and direct mail production. When she isn’t discussing data and creative with her clients, you can find her and her husband cheering on their children in hockey, baseball, and dance.

Employee Spotlight: Janelle Kolle, Senior Recruiter

Author: Camille Lehmann

At Nahan, we are so grateful for our talented employees. I’d like to introduce you to Janelle Kolle, one of the newest members of our Human Resources team. Janelle joined us in April as our Senior Recruiter. We are thrilled that Janelle chose Nahan to use her recruiting talents, and we cannot wait to share more about her!

Janelle Kolle

Janelle’s Background in the Human Resources Field

Before joining the Nahan team, Janelle was a Human Resources Consultant with her own consulting company. During her six years of consulting, she worked with both international and local organizations. Janelle is very proud of the successes she had in her career as an independent Human Resources Consultant and being an integral part of hiring a variety of talented individuals – including a Rocket Scientist! (or Propulsion Engineering Scientist to be technical). While she is thankful for her time at her own consulting company, she is excited to be starting a new adventure at Nahan. Janelle describes her passion for recruiting as similar to being a matchmaker – being able to meet new people, getting to know them, and then helping them find their career marriage.

“I am glad to join a team of seasoned professionals to help grow the Nahan talent and work to attract local talent. I am happy to offer my experience to an organization that values a new perspective.

Janelle Kolle, when asked what she’s most excited about in joining the Nahan team
Janelle and her family.

Beyond Nahan

When Janelle is not focused on Nahan’s talent, she first enjoys being a wife and mother. Additionally, she enjoys simple moments when she gets to watch TV uninterrupted, being outside hiking, camping, swimming, and fishing, as well as just laughing alongside friends. Janelle also loves a good opportunity to travel and credits both St. Lucia and her time living in Mexico as her favorite places to date! A few of her favorite adventures she’s experienced include swimming with sharks, cliff jumping, and RV’ing across the United States.

Janelle and her family on one of their many adventures.

“Some of the best advice I’ve been given is from a few books I’ve read over my life. Do your best so when you look back there are no regrets! Grow from your mistakes and even those cannot hold you back. It will all bring you to a place you most certainly will love.”

Janelle Kolle

Careers at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our careers page or contact us to learn more.

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She graduated with her Master’s of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

The Importance of Data in Direct Mail Marketing

Author: Alan Sherman, VP of Marketing Strategy

Quite often, when we work with clients in direct mail marketing, creative development is the first focus. But, just as in any marketing channel, who we target is just as important, if not more so for driving increased direct mail response and a successful direct mail campaign. For a full-service direct marketing company like Nahan, using data in direct mail marketing is a crucial component of an integrated success chain that includes strategy, data, creative and production execution.

Direct mail provides more data points to target against than any other marketing channel. The typical national data compiler manages over three thousand data points per person.*  Combine a multi-sourced wealth of data with sophisticated predictive analytics, and we can precisely rank prospects based on their propensity to respond (or other desired outcomes).

Let us take a look at typical data used by various direct mail industry clients. In the interest of time and space, what follows is not an exhaustive list.

Financial Services and Insurance – Credit Data

For financial and insurance clients, we see widespread use of credit bureau prescreened data – both in terms of trigger (credit or insurance inquiries by consumers) and broad market (often dictated by credit score and other data points) campaigns.

As a direct marketing service provider, Nahan partners with credit data agents, which can provide unique sources of value. Credit data agents typically receive and maintain real-time data from all 3 main credit bureaus, providing a comprehensive picture of all credit behavior across bureaus. More data across all 3 bureaus means more net qualified names, typically 15-20% more, and improved credit decisioning.

It also means more flexibility in terms of FCRA regulations, allowing for counts to be more easily run before actually pulling a file. Typically, when one pulls a complete prescreened credit file, one is obligated to make everyone on that list a firm offer of credit. Credit data agents have more flexibility in this regard. Custom models can make use of both credit and non-credit data for increased predictive power.

While credit data is usually the go-to data source for most financial and insurance acquisition mailers, it can often be supplemented by Invitation to Apply (ITA) data, which is primarily driven by a lifecycle event – such as college graduation, marriage, having children and buying a home. While ITA prospects are typically not as responsive, it is less expensive, and can be tested and paired with credit data as an effective supplemental data source.

Multiple Industries – Modeled Compiled Data

Compiled data is just that – data compiled from multiple sources and then linked to individuals and households. It’s typically used in travel, healthcare, retail, telecom, and auto direct mail.  There are a number of medium and large-sized data compilers that we partner with to provide the best data for our clients. Compiled data typically includes demographic, psychographic, and attitudinal data. 

Demographic data includes data elements like age, gender, income, occupation, and more.

Psychographic data is focused upon people’s interests and hobbies, often obtained via surveys, donations, and specialty lists.

Attitudinal data reflects attitudes and belief systems, typically from surveys and donations made to non-profits.

Compiled data is best paired with predictive analytics to identify the data elements that will give the greatest response.

Catalogers, Non-Profits, E-tailors and Others – Cooperative (Co-op) Data

Co-op data is customer purchase data collected from thousands of co-op members and maintained in a database. Typically, a member marketer must provide their customer data on a regular basis to join and participate. Co-op members include companies from the catalog, retail, etail, continuity, non-profit, publishers, finance, insurance, and business-to-business industries. Some co-ops focus on non-profit donation behavior specifically.

Co-ops collect over 1500 data elements for a given household and cover 190MM U.S. consumers. The depth and granularity of the data can vary by co-op. Given that customer behavior is often the most predictive of future behavior, this data is very powerful in its ability to predict the future response and purchasing.

Using marketer-provided customer purchase data, the co-ops use predictive models to find prospects elsewhere in the database with similar product and purchase behavior. Co-op data has long been a go-to data source for catalogers, replacing many of the more expensive specialty, “vertical” lists that exist, such as magazine subscriber files.

Business-to-Business (B2B) Data

B2B direct mail data used to come from two main data sources – Data Axle (formerly InfoGroup) and Dun & Bradstreet. They are still major players providing excellent data. Both, along with a continual flow of new players, now offer much more than the traditional data points like annual sales, number of employees, SIC code, and NAIC Code. Data points such as B2B buying behavior, public filings and linked consumer information all provide additional targeting insights. Because people change jobs much more frequently than they change addresses, B2B data is more challenging and labor intensive to maintain and keep up to date, resulting in a higher cost.

The Role of Analytics

The performance of all data mentioned here can and should be enhanced by predictive analytics. We simply can’t leverage any of these types of data to their full potential without the use of modeling to prioritize prospects. While a predictive model adds to the cost, it usually pays for itself in the first direct mail campaign with the increased direct response it produces. Depending on the circumstances, the model can be re-used until market conditions change. Machine learning and artificial intelligence have sped up the modeling process, and in certain cases, such as co-op data or credit models, new models may be built with every direct marketing campaign.

Our Data Role

Nahan has deep and long-time relationships with many types of direct mail data providers and list brokers. We can determine which source is the right fit for our clients’ objectives. Typically at a lower cost than our clients can obtain on their own. Our expertise ensures the best possible data at the best possible price. For any questions about data, please feel free to reach out to me at alan.sherman@nahan.com.

*Source: WebFX

Bio: Alan Sherman is our Vice President of Marketing Strategy. Alan enhances Nahan’s current value proposition with strategy solutions that support new/existing client relationships. For clients, he leverages market, customer, and competitive intelligence to build achievable strategies for omnichannel marketing success. His marketing plan strategies include targeted data, predictive analytics, testing and creative that drive ongoing client performance improvement. In his spare time, Alan enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, going to concerts, watching sports (he’s a fan of the NY Giants, Boston Red Sox and Celtics) and walking the dog, even though it was just out.

USPS Informed Delivery: A Great Way to Drive Increased Direct Mail ROI

Author: Nahan Marketing Team

If you are looking for a way to drive incremental responses and increased ROI from your direct mail campaigns, USPS Informed Delivery is a great way to do just that.

What is USPS Informed Delivery?

Informed Delivery from the United States Postal Service (USPS) gives consumers a sneak peak of their letter-sized mail (outer envelope or self-mailer image) before it arrives in their mailbox through a daily email that the consumer signs up for.

It consists of two main elements:

1) A large grayscale image of the piece or a 4-color representative image of the mailer.

2) A smaller, accompanying image that offers interactive marketing potential. Clicking on this image or on the “Learn More” call to action opens the URL associated with the campaign. It can also be used to open a marketer’s phone app for the recipient to call.

How Many People Are Signed Up for Informed Delivery?

As of 4/23/2021, the USPS reports that Informed Delivery has nearly 38 million users and a national saturation of over 22%.

Based on a 2020 Spring Mail Moment Study, the USPS reports that 50% of the audience surveyed had seen an interactive ad in the past 6 months. Of those, 74% have clicked on an interactive ad, and an astounding 63% had purchased from the website they accessed from the Informed Delivery campaign!

This presents a huge opportunity for marketers to drive incremental sales before the mail piece even arrives to the consumer’s home!

What Data Can I See as a Marketer with USPS Informed Delivery?

The following data is provided for Informed Delivery Campaigns.

  1. Density and Email Statistics (Number of users and % who elect to receive Informed Delivery emails)
  2. Email Open Rates (Number and % of emails opened)
  3. Click Through Rates (Number and % of people that clicked through on the digital content)

Nahan Can Help You Get Started

Our team at Nahan is here to help! We can provide input and guidance on setup, creative, measurement, and more with USPS Informed Delivery campaigns. Plus, as an extra bonus, the USPS is offering an Informed Delivery promotion later this year, so this is a great way to save on postage! Contact us to learn more!

 

Employee Spotlight: Doug Karls

Author: Camille Lehmann, Marketing

One of the aspects we pride ourselves on most at Nahan, is our top-notch team. We are so thankful to have employees that support our effort in building and maintaining an amazing team. Doug Karls, one of our production trainers, plays a significant role in this effort. I had the privilege to get to know Doug better, learn about his time at Nahan, and how he enjoys his time outside of work.

Doug Karls, Production Trainer

29 Years of Dedication to Nahan

Doug Karls began working at Nahan as a Helper in 1992. Over the years, he gained experience in several positions throughout the company, including a few years each as a Folder Operator, Cutter Operator, and Stitcher Operator. Doug then spent 14 years as a Shift Leader until becoming a Production Trainer in 2019. Since the opening of Nahan University in July of 2019, Doug has been an integral part of leading the program’s training initiatives. His longevity and dedication to Nahan is something he is proud of and he greatly enjoys how that has allowed him to learn about different departments at Nahan. Being a part of a company with an exciting vision for the future that continually strives for growth in all areas, is something that makes Doug excited about being on the Nahan team.

“My favorite part about my role at Nahan is helping new employees get the right training they need so they can achieve long term success as a Nahan employee.”

Doug Karls, Production Trainer

Life Beyond Nahan

Doug credits Michael Jordan, John C. Maxwell, and Simon Sinek as people who inspire him. Their work ethic, commitment, and leadership are qualities Doug admires and hopes to reflect in his role in training others at Nahan as well. In his free time, Doug enjoys watching the Vikings, Twins, and Wild teams play. Additionally, he likes to look for new smart home gadgets that he is sure he doesn’t need, spend time outside, and binge watch tv shows. In the future, Doug also hopes to travel to other areas of the world and eventually retire to Florida.

“The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is to always ask yourself, ‘what did you learn today?’ You will find that you always learn something new no matter what.”

-Doug Karls, Production Trainer

Careers at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our careers page or contact us to learn more.

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She graduated with her Master’s of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

NEMOA Spring Summit Takeaways: 4 Trends to Watch in 2021

Author: Krista Black, Group Account Director

I had the pleasure of participating in the NEMOA (National Etailing and Mailing Organization of America) Spring Summit last week. As you can imagine, attending a trade show looks a little different these days, with visiting booths, attending seminars and networking all done virtually. I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the event was run and how impactful the content was even though it was presented under different conditions. I found myself wondering if trade shows might maintain some of this new approach in the future even when a higher level of normalcy returns – a hybrid model where attendees could choose to participate in-person or online – or a combination of the two.

This thread of the “new normal” went beyond how the conference was run. It was woven into much of the content – the trends and predictions for our industry for the year ahead – predictions of a permanent shift in consumers’ behaviors as well as strategies to reach them.

Here are a few of my favorite COVID-inspired trends to watch from the 2021 NEMOA Spring Summit:

1. Resurgence of Mail

While mail volumes declined during the beginning of the pandemic, over 2/3 of Americans continue to collect their mail EVERY. DAY. Additionally, 77% of Americans indicate that they have a high interest in receiving mail and 50% of Millennials surveyed see mail as being more important than it was three years ago1. Meanwhile, packages from online shopping orders were delivered to doorsteps in record numbers, training us to check the doorstep and the mailbox more than ever before to retrieve them. As more and more brands re-enter the mail channel, they can benefit from these newly formed routines.

2. Test and Learn Mindset

In these times of rapidly changing consumer behavior, marketers must be nimble in terms of channel strategy, target, offers, and creative. A test and learn mindset is more critical than ever and will continue to remain imperative to helping marketers determine what’s working, what’s not, and what changes need to be made.

3. Rise of Social Commerce2

Consumers are buying directly from digital ads on social platforms at incredible rates, helping fuel a 33% year-over-year increase in ecommerce sales2. Thanks to Elizabeth Drori, Chief Marketing Officer at Sperry, for introducing me to the phrase, “thumb-stopping content” when describing how to capture attention and engage your audience when designing social content. Thumb-stopping content has lured me in many times; I’ve purchased everything from snacks to socks while scrolling through Instagram. But of course, social ads are only one piece of the puzzle – by aligning social ad strategy together with mail, we can fuel increased interaction and purchase behavior beyond what either channel can do alone. In the future, these channels will continue to become more interwoven.

4. Getting Real with Your Audience

The pandemic forced many brands to share their story differently during Covid shutdowns when travel, photo shoots, and large-scale productions were brought to a grinding halt. The silver lining? Many brands found new ways to connect with their audience, often leveraging user generated content to deliver an authentic brand message. With the shiny veneer of high production brand assets removed from the equation, smart brands were able to connect with audiences in new and more “real” way and “humanize” their brands.

Our team invites the opportunity to connect with you to strategize on these trends and to talk through your direct marketing strategies now and into the future. Reach out to us to schedule a time to chat.

Sources:

1Engaging with Customers in the Time of COVID, United States Postal Service

2How you succeed in an environment of rapid consumer behavior change, Oracle

Bio: Krista is our Group Account Director and brings over 15 years of marketing and agency experience. She and her husband have two children. Krista enjoys volunteering as a manager for her daughters’ dance teams, spending time with family, and watching reality TV.

5 Advantages of Working with Nahan as a Direct Marketing Agency

Author: Melissa Fransen

We have many exciting things happening at Nahan!

In January, we announced an expansion of our services to include a full omnichannel suite of direct marketing services, including strategy, creative, data, analytics, and more! These new services are being offered as needed a la cart style or in a fully integrated approach. Where you need help, our team can plug in and bring our expertise to take your direct marketing initiatives to new performance levels.

For many of our customers, our business relationship will remain unchanged and we are proud to continue our relationship as a trusted print partner. For others, these new resources bring forth a whole new world of opportunity.

Our team has been thrilled with the buzz we’ve been getting in the marketplace regarding our new services and the excitement we’re hearing from our customers. We want to say thank you for all of the questions we have received thus far. Keep the inquiries coming!

Here are 5 advantages of working with Nahan as a Direct Marketing Agency.

1. We Are Direct Marketing Strategy Experts

For over 50 years, Nahan has been known as a world-class printer. We know direct marketing production inside and out. We know best practices, what works, postal efficiencies, and much more. With our strategy offering, we can work with your team to optimize your entire direct marketing strategy and/or plug in where needed. Here are some examples of topics you could expect us to cover and ultimately address:

  • Discussion of your current direct marketing go-to-market strategy
  • Understanding your top-line goals and provide recommendations for helping you achieve and exceed them
  • What do successful KPIs look like for you?
  • Introduction of omnichannel and integrated tools to provide incremental response and lowered cost per acquisition
  • What is your data strategy?
  • How we leverage a test and learn approach with data and creative to continually improve results

2. We Bring Design/Creative Expertise

When it comes to the design of your next direct marketing program, our design experts are at your service. Whether it’s building an entire campaign from scratch to helping with new, efficient format ideas, we bring an unsurpassed level of creative expertise to your direct marketing projects. We can help with design, copywriting, personalization, versioning, best practices, and more! Here are some examples of things we’d likely cover in a design/creative review:

  • Understanding your audience
  • Understanding what’s worked and hasn’t in the past
  • What is the action you want the recipient to take?
  • Reviewing the developed creative brief
  • Offer and supporting benefits development
  • Optimal design and content placement
  • Copy that engages, makes an emotional connection, and prompts action
  • Accommodating differences in how readers consume content
  • Communicating your unique selling proposition

3. We Can Help with Your Data, Targeting, and Analytics

Whether you are a seasoned direct marketer or are just getting started, our team can help with your data and targeting strategies. From list research in identifying your best target audience to predictive modeling tools, we love to help our customers with their data/targeting strategies. Topics surrounding data and targeting would include items such as:

  • Understanding your target market
  • Reviewing current and introducing potential new sources of data
  • Leveraging sophisticated analytics to boost response, cut costs, and lower cost of acquisition
  • Understanding your current CRM strategy and how we can enhance it
  • Leveraging your customer and prospect data to further enhance personalization

4. We Bring Analysis Experience

Once the mailing gets to the recipient, our team is equipped to step in to help you analyze results of your direct marketing campaigns. Examples of items we’d analyze include:

  • KPIs and what they tell us
  • What can be learn from what worked and what didn’t
  • Go-forward testing recommendations

5. We Take What’s Working (or Not!) and Build Upon It

The best part of working together is that you will realize . . .

Request a Quote

Are you interested in learning more about our direct marketing service offerings? Reach out and contact us today!

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Looking for a Unique Take on Direct Mail? Try the Peek Fold Format!

Author: Laura Karels, Lead Designer

Check out our spin on a traditional direct mail format with the peek fold format. You’ll grab your recipient’s attention with a personalized headline as the first thing they see when they pull this peek folded letter out of the envelope. The longer form allows for a traditional letter using direct mail best practices along with extra real estate for a branded or promotional panel.

  • Unique folded letter peeks a large headline at the top
  • 14” long form for additional real estate
  • Tip on card for a tactile feel
  • 6” x 9” envelope stands out in the mailbox
  • Options: Fold style can be incorporated on other size formats

Watch the short video below to see the peek fold format in action!

For more inspiration, check out our other format ideas, including a double gate mailer, iron cross mailer, and 5 panel rollfold mailer.

Bio: Laura Karels is our Lead Designer. She is responsible for all things direct marketing design—from format sketches to final art—and truly enjoys the creative process of helping clients develop winning direct marketing campaigns. In her spare time, Laura enjoys great coffee and cross-country road trips with her family. She’s also getting really good at finding humor in her husband bringing home yet another “project” vehicle.

Employee Spotlight: Elena Cunningham

Author: Camille Lehmann, Marketing

At Nahan, we pride ourselves on the quality and talent of our team members. Each department is comprised of amazing employees whose dedication is what makes Nahan great. Elena Cunningham, our Human Resources Manager/Business Partner, is one of our newer employees who make Nahan special. I had the privilege to get to know Elena better, learn about her time at Nahan and how she enjoys her time outside of work.

Elena Cunningham

Elena’s Career in Human Resources

Elena joined the Nahan team at the beginning of February and has proved to be a vital part of the Human Resources team in a short time. In coming aboard the Nahan team, she brought five years of experience as an HR Business Partner at a technology solutions company. One of Elena’s impressive career accomplishments includes creating and running the Human Resources department at her previous employer. The ability to build a needed and significant piece of that company and turn it into an effective and trusted department is an example of the talent Elena possesses. Bringing that skill and experience to Nahan has made her a great addition to the team. When asked what she enjoys most about her role at Nahan, Elena explained that she enjoys being able to work with people every day and the ability to be a helpful resource to them.

“My favorite part about Nahan so far is getting to know the staff and the excitement of continually meeting more of the team!”

Elena Cunningham

Life Beyond Nahan

In her daily life, Elena’s parents are two people who inspire her. She describes them as strong-willed people who never give up and always stay humble, despite the challenges in life. When Elena is not working hard on the Human Resources team, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, running, painting, and going to brunch. She hopes to travel to Asia, South America, and Europe someday soon, as well as complete a half marathon.

Careers at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our careers page or contact us to learn more.

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She graduated with her Master’s of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

USPS Promotions – A Great Way to Engage Customers and Save on Postage

Author: Jen Bender, Senior Account Executive

Client engagement with your brand, products, and services begins at the mailbox. The look and feel of the piece you are mailing needs to draw in the consumer and make them want to open the package. 

USPS Promotions provide a great opportunity to engage customers, while saving on postage. We recently shared the 2021 USPS Postal Promotions calendar, which highlights the upcoming postal promotions for this year. In this blog, we are featuring two promotions that have been of particular interest to many of our customers.

Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Promotion

The Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Promotion (TSI) encourages sensory engagement with the physical mail piece using technical advances within the direct marketing industry.  Categories that qualify within this promotion include – specialty inks, specialty papers and interactive mail piece design.

The addition of a visual or textural element(s) can create intrigue for the recipient.  The addition of these treatments – like soft touch or sandpaper on the envelope or the addition of a lenticular card on the letter – can boost client interaction with the mail piece.

Treatments can be applied to the envelope and/or the mail piece but must be both visible and distinguishable and must meet automation compatibility requirements. The TSI promotion runs February 1, 2021 through July 31, 2021 and approved pieces receive a 2% postage discount.

Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion

The Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion integrates direct mail with advances in technology.  This promotion incorporates Enhanced Augmented Reality, Near Field Communication (NFC) Technology, Virtual Reality, and other digital methods to enhance your direct mail piece.

Creating an omnichannel marketing experience for your audience can accentuate your marketing strategy.  For example, add your logo, image or icon to the piece to create an interactive experience for the client by featuring a new product or service. 

The Emerging and Advanced Technology promotion runs March 1, 2021 – August 31, 2021.  Approved mail pieces quality for a 2% postage discount.

Getting Started with USPS Promotions

Our team is happy help you learn more about USPS Promotions and how to get started. Reach out to your Sales Representative, Account Executive or Account Manager for additional details as there are rules and restrictions that apply.

Bio: Jen Bender is a Senior Account Executive at Nahan. Jen has over 20 years of direct marketing experience and she enjoys working with clients to bring their direct marketing initiatives to the next level. Jen and her husband have two children and as family, they enjoy cheering on the team her husband coaches. Jen also enjoys reading, writing, and music.

How To Build an Effective Direct Marketing Strategy

Author: Alan Sherman, VP of Marketing Strategy

How many times have we in business or marketing heard the word “strategy?” or “strategic?” or “strategic direction?”  It’s one of those common business buzzwords that we hear all the time, but when it comes to direct marketing, what does “strategy” really mean? Merriam-Webster offers up several definitions of “strategy,” but the one I think is most relevant to direct marketing is “The art of devising or employing plans towards a goal.” After all, successful direct marketing strategy requires effective planning – putting the components of a winning program together.

From Our Perspective, What is Strategy?  

Nahan provides Strategic Planning, which is most simply about enabling clients to achieve their direct marketing goals.  This means improving direct mail gross response, while lowering cost without corresponding drops in response. This can be a challenge, as adding package components, increasing package size or paper quality will often lift response, but add cost. Ultimately, improving upon both response and cost leads to an improved cost per acquisition and superior return on marketing investment. So how do we do this?

A Step by Step, Rigorous Approach Gets Results

We recommend initially approaching this from a macro level. Who will we target and why? If we are focusing on direct mail, what kind of package format is needed? What does our creative and messaging need to look like? What are our target metrics?

The answers to these questions can be found in a step-by-step approach to direct marketing performance improvement. We suggest beginning with a marketing assessment to best understand everything that has been done in the past, from creative, targeting, cadence and offers to the competitive landscape.

Based on our knowledge of data and analytics and an analysis of the marketer’s data, we will likely propose specific types of data and the right predictive analytic tools for data testing. On the creative side, although budget is usually a factor, when we can test more than one creative, we create more opportunities for success.

Finally, based on what we see in the data and from our knowledge of direct mail creative best practices, we design the creative, with the target audience in mind. The data analysis tells us quite a bit about our prospects. We develop messaging, the package design, articulate the offer, supporting benefits and Call to Action.

How Strategy is Rolled Out Against Data, Analytics, and Creative

The available universe is determined. Because we take a “test and learn” approach, a test plan that minimizes risk while testing creative, data, and analytics is developed. When results come back, we measure them and make recommendations for further improvements in targeting and creative. Feeling more comfortable in what works, we can invest more dollars in reaching more people, often expanding to an omnichannel campaign, particularly where we can simultaneously target the same direct mail recipients with online campaigns, can substantially lift results further.

A subsequent results analysis leads to additional improvement – ideally, a never-ending improvement process. Which is necessary, given that costs like paper and postage are always rising!

The Results

We can almost always improve response through our knowledge of what creative and data works, creative and data testing, and predictive analytics. We can also test less expensive materials to bring down package costs. When we work these “levers” in the right way, cost per acquisition drops.

Questions To Ask Yourself and Your Team

What are your acquisition goals for the year? Where do you think your program is working and where might improvement be needed? Are you testing creative and data on a regular basis? Do you rotate your creative to keep it fresh and performance up? If you would like to achieve better results or simply discuss your challenges and receive suggestions, give us a call.

Bio: Alan Sherman is our Vice President of Marketing Strategy. Alan enhances Nahan’s current value proposition with strategy solutions that support new/existing client relationships. For clients, he leverages market, customer, and competitive intelligence to build achievable strategies for omnichannel marketing success. His marketing plan strategies include targeted data, predictive analytics, testing and creative that drive ongoing client performance improvement. In his spare time, Alan enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, going to concerts, watching sports (he’s a fan of the NY Giants, Boston Red Sox and Celtics) and walking the dog, even though it was just out.

Direct Mail Design Best Practices: Personalization Matters

Author: Laura Karels, Lead Designer

Designers of all mediums have best practices they follow when creating their best product and direct mail designers are no different. One of the most important best practices in direct mail design is using personalization and using it well.

Direct mail personalization has come a long way from just using the recipient’s name and address. Digital print technology and highly targeted data has allowed marketers to personalize direct mail design in creative ways. Personalization is proven to drive better response rates and who doesn’t want that?!  

Ways to get personal…

Imagery

Images can be personalized based on segmentation data, business vertical type, location, and more. Visuals the recipient can relate to can be very powerful.

Offers

Targeting offers to a recipient’s consumer history or specific needs are more likely to get response from your direct mail. Response rates can increase up to 50% or more when targeting consumers on a 1:1 level. (thedma.org)

Geo-Targeting

One of the easiest ways to personalize and get impact is the use of maps and locations within the direct mail design and copy. This is also information that is part of the basic data—it can simply be pulled from the address block.  

Copy

The words you use can be personalized in so many ways. Using the recipient’s name, address, consumer history, business type, etc. in thoughtful ways within the copy can entice the reader and increase response. According to the ANA (formerly DMA) simply adding a person’s name can increase response by 135%!

Forms

If your direct mail format includes a form or response device, prefill out the form with the recipient’s data to make responding easier.

These are just 5 ways to use personalization within direct mail design but digital print technology has opened the door to so much more.

Check out this example of a mailer that was designed to contain 57 variable pieces of data and photos, resulting in increased engagement and a higher ROI per piece vs. previous direct mailers! Contact Us to see how we can help you effectively use personalization in your next mailing.

This is part of our Design Best Practices Blog Series. Look for more best practices in future blog posts.

BIO: Laura Karels is our Lead Designer. She is responsible for all things direct marketing design—from format sketches to final art—and truly enjoys the creative process of helping clients develop winning direct marketing campaigns. In her spare time, Laura enjoys great coffee and cross-country road trips with her family. She’s also getting really good at finding humor in her husband bringing home yet another “project” vehicle.

Employee Spotlight: Sara Stephanie

Author: Camille Lehmann, Marketing

Each department at Nahan is full of team members that make our vision of exceeding customer expectations come to life. One of our amazing employees is Sara Stephanie, a dedicated member of our Direct Mail team who runs the CMC 250 inline. I had the privilege to get to know Sara better, learn about her time at Nahan, and how she enjoys her time outside of work.

Sara Stephanie

15 Years of Dedication to Nahan

Sara started her career working in the retail and consumer industry, eventually leading her to the Direct Mail industry. After a few years at a mailing service company, Sara became a part of the Nahan team in the Direct Mail department and has been an integral part of her team for the last 15 years. When reflecting on her experience, Sara explains that she is proud of her constant growth in her role and the company. The knowledge she has gained over the years has been beneficial to her career and has added to the success of the Direct Mail team. Additionally, Sara credits the people she works with every day on her team as one of her favorite parts of her role.

“The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.”

Sara Stephanie, when asked the best piece of advice she’d been given.

Life Beyond Nahan

In her daily life, Sara’s family inspires her to be the best person she can be and to try her best in everything she does. When Sara is not working hard on the Direct Mail team, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, taking her dog for walks, camping, fishing, and going to the beach. One of her biggest goals in life that she is always working towards is continuing to improve and become a better person. This is so apparent in her commitment to her Nahan team, and we are very thankful for her dedication.

Careers at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our careers page or contact us to learn more.

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She graduated with her Master’s of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

Employee Spotlight: Gary Wenner

Author: Camille Lehmann, Marketing

We are so thankful for our team of amazing and dedicated team members. Our mission is only possible with the talent of our employees, including Gary Wenner, our Master Electrician. I had the privilege to get to know Gary better, learn about his time at Nahan, and how he enjoys his time outside of work.

Gary and his family

Over Two Decades On the Nahan Team

Gary started his career by enrolling in the Electrical Construction program at St. Cloud Technical Community College. While working for Cold Spring Granite, he received his Journeyman’s License, which requires four years of experience. While working for Stearns County Facilities Maintenance, Gary worked to earn his Master’s License, which requires at least five years of experience. Shortly after, Gary saw an advertisement for the position of Master Electrician at Nahan, He applied, joined our team and he is a proud Nahan employee of 23 years. Over these two decades, Gary says that installing new equipment is one of the most rewarding challenges. The ability to have the time, tools, and resources to complete a job that meets the electrical code, is professional-looking, and lasts for years is one of the reasons he enjoys working at Nahan. Most of all, he enjoys the people he works with every day. As the Master Electrician, he gets to work with people throughout the company, and that involvement is something he greatly appreciates and enjoys about his role.

“The best piece of advice I’ve been given is to start each new day with an attitude of gratitude.”

Gary Wenner, Master Electrician

Life Beyond Nahan

In his daily life, Gary’s dad serves as a person that inspires him. His father’s legacy of being a hardworking, patient, and a kind person, as well as a good husband and father, encourages him every day. When Gary is not working hard on the Nahan team, he enjoys spending time with his wife, son, and daughter and doing activities such as boating, camping, snowmobiling, motorcycling, and traveling. Of the places he’s traveled, his favorite has been cruising the Caribbean and he looks forward to traveling more to farther destinations for longer periods in the future.

Careers at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our careers page or contact us to learn more.

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She graduated with her Master’s of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

Expanding Our Portfolio of Services – Introducing Marketing Services

Author: Alan Sherman

For almost 60 years, Nahan has been known for an emphasis on high quality production, distribution, and design. Our clients are a blue-chip group of direct mail and catalog marketers.

In a marketing climate that is increasingly competitive and further challenged by a global pandemic, we are building upon our success and offering clients a true end-to-end omnichannel marketing solution, driven by a team of experts across strategy, data, and creative.

Crafting a Solution Around What Works

In doing so, we are positioning our marketing services around what drives client success. In direct mail, response is driven by 3 top-line components: the data, creative, and the offer. Supporting and “orchestrating” all of this is the strategy, with an overall plan of action that often optimizes all three of these elements for best results.

Targeting Crucial for Success

Research indicates that the right data or list, is the single most important factor in prospect or customer response. An investment in direct mail is wasted against the wrong audience. Proper data selection, whether it is a targeted list selection or through the application of predictive analytics, is essential for success.  We can drive enhanced performance via additional, proven sources often priced at levels that clients cannot obtain on their own.

Creative Designed Specifically to Drive Response

Our skilled and experienced team is highly focused on applying a series of creative best practices that get respondents to take action. High performance creative is much more than small, iterative changes to an existing creative control. It means re-tooled responsive design, copy and often the introduction of new direct mail formats. This is where the big gains in response are realized.  Depending on the client, it may mean development of a rotation of creative controls, especially when targeting an audience more than once.

Hooking Them With a Well-Written and Properly Located Offer

The creative offer is what hooks potential customers. Offers themselves may sometimes be limited by what a client is able to provide, but how they are presented, messaged and supported by benefits is key to response success. A well-constructed offer with supporting benefits is compelling, hooks the reader, establishes credibility, reverses perceived risk, and includes a strong, urgent call to action.

Tying It All Together with Strategy

Well-developed strategy effectively brings these key components together. It may include analyzing past performance, scoping and ranking the right universe, putting an A/B or multivariate test plan together, providing guidance on the campaign, measuring the results and then applying the learning for continued, ongoing performance improvement. This may mean expanding the marketing plan, utilizing various approaches to reach the same people with multiple contacts across additional, integrated marketing channels. We have long known that omnichannel programs perform best.

An End-to-End Solution Makes for Cost Efficiencies and Higher ROI

Pairing some or all of your direct marketing efforts with high-quality production and smart postal strategies produces cost and time efficiencies, which leads to greater Return on Investment. We are already hard at work helping clients achieve better results for 2021 and are eager to help you be successful as well! Please reach out to me at alan.sherman@nahan.com if you would like to learn more about our marketing services.

Bio: Alan Sherman is our Vice President of Marketing Strategy. Alan enhances Nahan’s current value proposition with strategy solutions that support new/existing client relationships. For clients, he leverages market, customer, and competitive intelligence to build achievable strategies for omnichannel marketing success. His marketing plan strategies include targeted data, predictive analytics, testing and creative that drive ongoing client performance improvement. In his spare time, Alan enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, going to concerts, watching sports (he’s a fan of the NY Giants, Boston Red Sox and Celtics) and walking the dog, even though it was just out.

Success Story: Creating an Award-Winning Catalog for the U.S. Market

Author: Melissa Fransen

Creating an award-winning catalog is one thing. Having the first catalog you produce for the U.S. market as an international brand win a Gold Ink Award, one of the industry’s most prestigious awards… that is in a class of its own!

At Nahan, we feel honored and privileged to have been a part of this success with our customer TriSyle Group and their Madeleine catalog. I had the privilege to chat with Niels Degen and Rob McMahon of TriSyle Group to learn more about their catalog creation and their success story with launching the Madeleine brand in the U.S.

Madeleine’s Award-Winning Catalog

Background

The Madeleine brand is a very strong fashion brand internationally. As a part of their strategic growth initiatives, TriStyle Group decided to launch this brand into the U.S. with a catalog pilot test program.   

The pilot program consisted of two distributions of 100,000 catalogs each. Everything was planned very carefully for the entire pilot program and then something happened in the world that shook all of us – the pandemic started the same week as their first catalog dropped! Scary? Yes! But, I’m happy to report that all went well. In fact, the catalog performed 10% better than planned; moreover, was 6% more profitable!

“At TriStyle, we are very happy with our first steps into the US market and are looking forward to our future journey.”

Niels Degen, TriStyle

And even better news… the second campaign came in with even better results than the first one!

Creating an Award-Winning Catalog in the U.S.

When creating a catalog for the U.S. market, there are many things to consider from SKU assortments that appeal to the U.S. fashion market to U.S. paper selection to the size of the catalog itself to ensure it is spec’d to co-mail efficient sizes.

Rob walked me through the process of creating the catalog pilot program and how Kelly Marthaler, our Nahan Sales Representative, flew to London to review the details and to strategize on a successful catalog brand launch in the U.S. Every aspect of the project was planned carefully and strategically. One of the ideas that came from the meeting was a “mini catalog” within the catalog itself that featured a range of their hottest selling products featured at special pricing. The mini catalog featured a thicker paper stock than the rest of the catalog to help it stand out. The catalog also featured a few variable special offers, specific to each customer from “free shipping & returns” to “$25 off and a free gift scarf.”

All of these details and more contributed to this successful Gold Ink Award win. Winning pieces for Gold Ink Awards are chosen based on print quality, technical difficulty, and overall visual effect.

Follow Up to the Test Pilot

Due to the success of the pilot program, TriStyle Group has expanded their print marketing efforts to include follow-up catalog strategies and self-mailers.  

“I’d like to personally congratulate TriStyle Group’s team on putting together an award-winning catalog! Well done! And thanks for choosing Nahan as your partner for this project. We are very happy for you and your success!”

Melissa Fransen, Marketing Manager

Interested in Learning More About Launching a U.S. Catalog Program for your International Brand?

If you are in interested in learning more about our marketing services, let us know! Feel free to contact us today! Plus, check out the Madeleine website at the following link: https://www.madeleine.com/

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Top Five Nahan Blogs of 2020

Author: Camille Lehmann, Marketing

We so enjoyed writing our collection of Nahan blogs published in 2020! Keeping our customers up to date on industry trends and company culture is one way of our favorite ways to differentiate ourselves and be customer-focused. Thank you to everyone for reading our blogs in 2020, we look forward to sharing more content this year!

Check out our top five performing blogs below!

  1. Employee Spotlight: Dawn Volante Brown
  2. Nahan Named As a Printing Industry Best Workplace in the Americas
  3. Mixing PMS Colors
  4. Is Nahan a Printing or Technology Company?
  5. Employee Spotlight: Pat Nahan

We are excited to publish more great and informative articles in 2021! Be sure to check out our website this year for all the latest Nahan blogs. To be the first to know about new blogs, make sure to follow us on our LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. If you have content that you’d like to see from our team in the future, feel free to contact us anytime and let us know.

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She graduated with her Master’s of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

Employee Spotlight: Aaron Weekes

Author: Camille Lehmann, Marketing

At Nahan, we’re thankful for our amazing team that makes our mission possible. One of those dedicated team members is Aaron Weekes, our Director of Business Support Services. I had the privilege to get to know Aaron more, learn about his time at Nahan, and how he enjoys his time outside of work.

Aaron Weekes, Director of Business Support Services

Two Decades of Experience in Information Technology

Aaron has been a Nahan employee for the past four years. When he began his role at Nahan, he brought sixteen years of experience in Informational Technology from his previous role in a growth-oriented manufacturing organization. Starting as a helpdesk intern at his prior organization that led him to become their Director of IT, he is now the Director of Business Support Services at Nahan. He is grateful for the opportunities he has had to grow professionally and work with great teams. As the Director of Business Services, Aaron serves as the leader of all our business support service teams. This includes a variety of amazing people focused on internal and external customer service in the areas of technology, pricing, project planning, graphic arts, and data service.

“At my core, I just love helping people, and I get to do that every day. It brings me great joy. The people I get to work with day in and day out are great. It’s an amazing, diverse, dedicated, and fun group of people.”

Aaron Weekes, when asked to share what he enjoys most about his role at Nahan.
Aaron and his family.

Life Beyond Nahan

One of the accomplishments Aaron is proud of is his ability to maintain a work and life balance. His time with his family means the world to him. In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball and claims he could fish for days without ever getting bored. He also tries to find time to volunteer with youth and travel to new places with his family. Glacier National Park is his favorite place he has had the opportunity to travel to, and he is excited to hike more trails in state and national parks with his family in the future.

Careers at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our careers page or contact us to learn more.

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

Nahan Receives Recertification of G7® Master Qualification

SAINT CLOUD, MN – December 4, 2020 – Nahan Printing, an award-winning provider of commercial print, direct mail, and digital solutions, is proud to announce it has received its annual G7® Master Qualification Recertification.

G7® is an industry-leading set of specifications from Idealliance® for achieving visual similarity across all print processes. It is a global standard widely used to measure the color accuracy on any output device. “The G7® Master Qualification tells Nahan’s customers that they can expect exceptional color consistency” said Tim Castellano, Nahan’s Color Technician. It allows Nahan to manage process control better, reduce make-ready, and improve overall efficiency in all aspects of our workflow. For our customers, this consistency also ensures uncompromising color according to their brand standards.

“The final product was beautiful. Print quality was exceptional.”

Print Buyer, Marketing and Fundraising Agency

“The G7® Master Qualification certifies that our color reproduction process is in control and can predictively produce the highest 4/C printing quality including match to the proof and consistent length of run color consistency” said John Klumb, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “G7® certification is one of the cornerstones of Nahan’s Award Winning quality along with skilled craftsman and best in class inks and process materials.”

About Nahan

Nahan Printing is a Minnesota-based, independent, privately-held, world-class printer committed to providing end-to-end solutions that add value to our clients. Since its inception in 1962, Nahan has specialized in catalog and direct mail printing for industries such as retail, financial services, non-profit and hospitality. With a client roster of legendary brands, Nahan prints iconic work that represents the highest level of quality and innovation in the industry.

Unique Format to Set Yourself Apart in the Mailbox – Consider an Iron Cross Mailer!

We are putting together a series of “quick to market” direct mailer format ideas. From acquisition mailings to market recovery plan mailings, an iron cross mailer is a great option. A lot of our customers are finding to be a very effective format as a part of their marketing strategy. Check it out!

Advantages include:

  • Unique, eye-catching design
  • Format featured – 4.25″ x 6″
  • Unique personalized panels
  • Can affix card in the center panel (personalized)
  • Glue tabbed shut
  • These can be produced on premium papers up to 80# cover weight stocks

Interested in learning more? Contact us today to get a quote or visit our marketing services page!

Do You Want to Get to Market Quickly? Consider a 5 Panel Rollfold Mailer!

We are putting together a series of “quick to market” direct mailer format ideas. From acquisition mailings to market recovery plan mailings, a 5 panel rollfold mailer is a great option. A lot of our customers are finding this to be a very effective format as a part of their marketing strategy. Size is shown as 5″ x 7.” Check it out!

Advantages include:

  • Rollfold is option is great for telling a story
  • 5″ x 7″ and 6″ x 9″ folding sizes. 5″ x 7″ offers excellent paper cost efficiency
  • Can attach a static or personalized card
  • Inline 1:1 personalized 600 X 1200 (high resolution) inkjetting for address and other panels
  • Produced in one-pass – printing, folding, gluing, inkjetting in one single pass through our press
  • Glues closed – no wafer seals or tabs needed
  • These can be produced on premium papers up to 80# cover weight stocks
  • Options: tipped cards added to panels, perfing, and adding an outer envelope

Interested in learning more? Contact us today to get a quote or visit our marketing services page!

Nahan Website Wins Gold at W3 Awards: An Interview with the Website Launch Team

Author: Camille Lehmann, Marketing

We are thrilled to announce that the Nahan website is the recipient of a W3 Gold Award in the category of General Website – Professional Services. The W3 Awards recognize digital excellence in the categories of websites, apps, social content, videos, podcasts, and marketing. Our team is incredibly excited to be awarded this honor that recognizes the hard work of our website launch team and the talents of the team at Lawrence & Schiller. This accomplishment would truly not have been possible without the collaboration of Lawrence & Schiller – a huge thank you to their dedicated team! The award win comes just one year after our website launch in October of 2019. To celebrate both our W3 Awards win and our new website’s one-year anniversary, I spoke with the members of the website launch team to gather insight on the goals and accomplishments of the website launch.

Our website launch team included the following Nahan team members

  • Melissa Fransen (Marketing Manager)
  • Aaron Weekes (Director of Business Support Services)
  • Curt Tillotson (Chief Operating Officer)
  • Jim Hesch (Client Service Team Leader)
  • Adam Rohde (Department Leader – IT)
  • John Klumb (Vice President of Sales and Marketing)
  • Brenda Blonigen (Senior Account Manager)
  • Joseph Jachimiec (Security Administrator)

Our Nahan website launch team (from left to right): Melissa Fransen, Aaron Weekes, Curt Tillotson, Jim Hesch, Adam Rohde, John Klumb, Brenda Blonigen, and Joseph Jachimiec

What were some of your goals with the new website?

Melissa: We wanted our website to represent Nahan and our brand, be SEO (Search Engine Optimization)-focused, and be optimized for lead generation. We also wanted it to focus on our people, thought-leadership, and our culture.

John: One of my goals was to have a robust group of blogs available that would be added to on a regular basis. My hope was that this would drive repeat visitors and make us known as a leader in providing valuable content. Thanks to the efforts of many, this is a reality.

What did you enjoy most about the process of relaunching the website?

Aaron: I really enjoyed identifying and creating the profiles of people using the website. The process really helped us understand the content that different consumers would want to know and the best way to tell our story to them. It was a great exercise that Lawrence & Schiller helped us through.

Lawrence & Schiller: It was a unique and rewarding experience to work with our long-time print partner and help them to create a website that is as innovative as they are. For a business who is always dedicated to producing the best work, it was great to turn the tables and put the focus on Nahan.

Brenda: I thoroughly enjoyed learning how much it takes to create a website and the intricate parts of it. It was a great learning experience for me. The Nahan and Lawrence & Schiller team members were so knowledgeable and I learned so much from all of them. They were fun, creative, great thinkers, and such a joy to work with. Wow! Such amazing people.

Does anything in particular stand out to you as something cool or noteworthy you learned during the process?       

Jim: I thought it was pretty cool how easy it was to add content. We were able to add some awesome pictures to our website. I’m happy that it’s able to show some friendly team faces.

Melissa: It was a fun process as to how our team built the site tailored to all of the different personas of people who come to the site – from job seekers to community members to customers to print professionals that have been in the industry their entire career to print newbies. There is something for everyone and we continue to build blogs tailored to all of the different people that come to our website.

Adam: I loved the cross-department collaboration that went into the build. The chance to highlight individuals and show who we are was probably my favorite part of the process.

Lawrence & Schiller: Nahan assembled the perfect team to tackle this project. When I say perfect, I really mean that. It was a diverse group of folks from multiple departments and parts of the business, but the special part was how focused their team was when it came to decision-making. As L&S led discussions on vision, audience, content, design and functionality – the Nahan team (time and time again) would collaborate and reach a final, definitive direction on where they wanted to go. This was also a nod to Melissa who had a passion for innovation but a commitment to team.

From your perspective, what was the most difficult challenge you faced during the launch?

Aaron: We took the approach to start from scratch instead of just improving the current site.  This was challenging because it took time and caused us to rethink everything, but it was worth the investment.

Joseph: The Nahan team was so fun to work with, and Melissa was a great team lead, so I honestly don’t remember any particularly difficult challenges. Lawrence & Schiller was top-notch, very friendly, talented, and professional. I’m just glad I was able to play a part in the launch from a security perspective, as well as helping with the design, photography, and content. It’s a great website!

Brenda: My greatest challenge was just to understand the whys behind the creative portion of what we were trying to accomplish. How exactly information pulls into a website was a mystery to me, but so very interesting learning this.

Curt: The most difficult part of the process was deciding which words we wanted to make sure that we mentioned on the site so that we show up on Google searches. It was a daunting task, but Melissa and our team at Lawrence & Schiller showed us how to work through it.

What made you the most proud during the process of launching the website?

John: I am proud of the fact the new website does such a great job of conveying who we are and what Nahan is and that we’re not just a printer.                                                                                                                                                                   

Jim: I’m proud of our collaboration and brainstorming sessions. And then we would all get together with each addition and review . . . oh my, I love smart people.

Lawrence & Schiller: Adding the photo/video shoot to this project really made the website go from “great” to “award winning”. Nahan’s decision to invest in capturing the company culture, people and processes through photography and videography allowed L&S to design a website that was modern, forward-thinking and simply different from your typical print shop. The website truly delivers on its promise of being world-class.

Curt: Our Nahan team that brainstormed our website was amazing. They brought energy, creativity, and competency to the project well beyond what I ever could have imagined. They worked as a team and got it done. 

Feel free to explore our website and let us know what you think!

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

Do You Want to Get to Market Quickly? Consider a Double Gate Mailer!

We are putting together a series of “quick to market” direct mailer format ideas. From acquisition mailings to Holiday mailings, a double gate mailer is a great option. A lot of our customers are finding this to be a very effective format as a part of their marketing strategy. Size as shown is 6″ x 9.” Check it out!

Advantages include:

  • Expanded selling space
  • Large, visual impact
  • Can be expanded to 6″ x 10.5″
  • Can attach a static or personalized card
  • Inline 1:1 personalized 600 X 1200 (high resolution) inkjetting for address and other panels
  • Produced in one-pass – printing, folding, gluing, inkjetting in one single pass through our press
  • Glues closed – no wafer seals or tabs needed
  • These can be produced on premium papers up to 80# cover weight stocks
  • Options: tipped cards added to panels, perfing, and adding an outer envelope

Interested in learning more? Contact us today to get a quote or visit our marketing services page!

Employee Spotlight: Jenny Chirhart

At Nahan, we pride ourselves on our amazing team that makes our mission possible. One of those amazing team members is Jenny Chirhart, our Fulfillment Department Leader.

Jenny Chirhart, Fulfillment Department Leader

“The part that I enjoy the most about being on the Nahan team is how everyone works together to get the job done.”

Jenny Chirhart, Fulfillment Department Leader

Nearly Two and a Half Decades of Commitment to Nahan

Jenny has been a Nahan employee for the past twenty-four years. She began her Nahan career following her high school graduation as a Direct Mail Helper. During the years following, she worked as a Quality Checker, Laser Operator, and Inserter Operator. Jenny worked in the Customer Service Department for nine years and then in Prep and Outside Purchasing for another three years. In the spring of 2018, she became a Lead in our Fulfillment Department, and then was promoted to a Shift Leader in the summer of 2019. When I asked Jenny what made her the proudest of her time at Nahan, she responded with the fact that she has worked hard over the years and it earned her a leadership role. She also credits the people she gets to work with every day, as a reason she enjoys working at Nahan.

Jenny and her children

“The people who inspire me the most in my life are my children.”

Jenny Chirhart, Fulfillment Department Leader

Life Beyond Nahan

When she is not leading the Fulfillment Department, Jenny enjoys spending time with her family. She added that the best advice she’s ever received is to enjoy time with her children and family because time goes by too fast. Other than spending time with family and friends, Jenny’s hobbies include four-wheeling, going on walks, and playing games. She also enjoys traveling, citing Hawaii as her favorite trip, and she hopes to do more traveling in the future.

Careers at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our careers page or contact us to learn more.

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

Do You Want to Get to Market Quickly? Consider a Trifold Mailer!

We are putting together a series of “quick to market” direct mailer format ideas. From acquisition mailings to special event mailings, a trifold mailer is a great option to drive online or retail activity. Typically the postage cost is 25% lower than a typical 8’ X 10.5” catalog. A lot of our customers are finding this to be a very effective format as a part of their marketing strategy. Size is shown as 6″ x 10.5.” Check it out!

Advantages include:

  • Cost-effective design
  • 3x the real estate (square inches) of an oversized postcard and mails for the same price
  • Can attach a static or personalized card
  • Inline 1:1 personalized 600 X 1200 (high resolution) inkjetting for address and other panels
  • Produced in one-pass – printing, folding, gluing, inkjetting in one single pass through our press
  • Glues closed – no wafer seals or tabs needed
  • These can be produced on premium papers up to 80# cover weight stocks
  • Options: tipped cards added to panels, perfing, and adding an outer envelope

Interested in learning more? Contact us today to get a quote or visit our marketing services page!

Printing Industry: Myth Busters

Author: Melissa Fransen

I’ve been really looking forward to putting together this blog. Our team met recently and brainstormed common printing industry myths that we’ve heard. Without further ado, let’s explore the list!

Myth #1: Print is Dead

Let’s start with this one right off the bat. Yes, we live in a digital world. Yes, there are more marketing channels than ever to attract and retain loyal customers. Yes, in some segments, marketing mail volumes have decreased but from our perspective at Nahan, print is alive, well, and continues to grow.

We have more customers than ever using print to complement their marketing strategies and we continue to add new customers on a weekly basis. We work with Fortune 500 companies across the globe in industries from eCommerce to Food to Financial to Tourism to Retail and much more. Print is a viable marketing channel that is driving great results for our customers and definitely has its place with omni-channel marketing strategies.

Nahan is more than just a print shop – we are evolving to be more of a technology company who is really great at print, as said best by my colleague Pat Nahan. Check out more from his blog on this topic here.

Myth #2: Print is Ineffective

In a recent study from MTS, 84% of Marketers stated that direct mail improved their multichannel campaign performance! Also, they stated that respondents reported a 41% increase in “good” or “very good” ROI when direct mail was part of the multichannel mix. That alone speaks volumes as to how effective print can be when added to an omni-channel marketing strategy.

When planning print strategies with our customers, we work with them to ensure their printed strategies are built to drive results based on their specific goals. If your printed pieces have not been successful, it’s important to dig into why. What was your goal? Was it branding alone? To acquire new customers? Drive online sales? Retain a lapsed customer? Did you provide an incentive or a great call to action to drive a response? If your project had an envelope, was there something to entice the end consumer to open it? Printed products will only be as successful as the strategies behind them to drive results. Two of our Nahan Differentiators are that we are problem solvers and we are results-driven. So, if your print campaign has not been effective, we welcome the opportunity to brainstorm with you to create an effective piece that drives results.

Myth #3: Print Can’t Be Personalized/Customized

If you haven’t heard of the term VDP, which stands for Variable Data Printing, you are in for a treat! This is actually one of my favorite capabilities that we offer at Nahan. Where there is data, there is an opportunity to customize printed products. Instead of printing 100,000 pieces of one design, with VDP you can print 100,000 unique variations of a printed piece that go to 100,000 people on your mailing list. These variations can include different images, different offers, maps to the nearest store location, and so much more! How do we do this? We can set up API integrations, CRM integrations, and build other programs to help customize pieces using your data. We are also very versed in daily, weekly, monthly trigger mailings and much more! Check out our blog on Variable Data Printing for a closer look at its capabilities.

Myth #4: Print Isn’t Environmentally Friendly

Even though print is utilizing paper, many printers are very dedicated to being environmentally friendly. Nahan, for example, is considerate of our environment in every decision we make across the company. A fun fact – last year we recycled over 15 million pounds of paper! Yes, you read that right – 15 million pounds! From innovative product designs, to soy based inks, to sustainable paper options, we offer a wide variety of environmentally sustainable options.  

Myth #5: Mail is Not Secure

When selecting a print and direct mail provider, security should be a topic of discussion. The security of mail is one of our highest priorities of Nahan. We are HIPAA compliant, PCI DSS QSA validated, SOC2 compliant, and continue to work to obtain additional industry-recognized security certifications. We treat every piece of mail that goes through our doors with the highest level of integrity. Once the mail leaves our doors, the USPS is also committed to keeping mail safe. When you work with a secure printer who is backed by security credentials, you can be confident with your mail’s security.

Questions?

If you have questions on any of the above topics or would like information about Nahan and our marketing services, contact us at any time!

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Employee Spotlight: John Depa

Author: Camille Lehmann, Marketing

Nahan’s vision of making eye-catching marketing materials come to life in print is only possible because of our amazing team. One of those amazing team members is John Depa, our Press Shift Leader (2nd shift). I had the privilege to get to know John, learn about his time at Nahan, and how he enjoys his time outside of work.

John Depa
John Depa and his wife, Laurie.

“Gary Primus once told me that if you’re never making any wrong decisions, you are not making enough of them.”

John, when asked to share the greatest advice he’s been told

Over Two Decades of Commitment to Nahan

Immediately after high school, John dove into the printing industry, working for a small family-run printer by the name of May Printing, alongside one of his friends. Later on, his friend applied to work at Nahan and encouraged John to do the same. John joined the Nahan in 1990, starting by working in the warehouse of the old Nahan location, spending 7 years on the team. After some time away, John rejoined the Nahan team again in the late 1990s and has been with us ever since. Over his years at Nahan, John credits his greatest accomplishment to having been a part of a team to install three presses and the knowledge he gained from those experiences.

“I really enjoy working with all the people at Nahan and the customers that come in for press checks. It’s amazing to see the products we produce – the quality is second to none.”

Life Beyond Nahan

When he is not leading his hard-working team, John enjoys spending time with his family. John lists his wife, Laurie, as his greatest inspiration, describing her as always keeping a positive attitude no matter the situation. He also spends as much time with his children and grandchildren as possible. In his spare time, John enjoys spending time outdoors playing a round of golf or adventuring by camping and boating.

Careers at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our careers page or contact us to learn more.

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

Employee Spotlight: Dan Peterka

Author: Camille Lehmann, Marketing

For thirty-two years, Dan Peterka has been an employee of Nahan. After over three decades of spending his time in both the Customer Service and Sales departments, Dan will be retiring as of early August. Dan has been such a pleasure for the entire team to work with and we are excited to share more about his time at Nahan and what his future plans hold.

Dan accepting his Newbie Award in 2013 for having the most new accounts in a month.

Looking Back on His Nahan Career

Dan began his career at Nahan in the Customer Service department where he spent approximately twenty-two years. He credits this time for helping him grow in the field and eventually helped him move into Sales, where he has spent the past nine years.

What Did Dan Enjoy the Most?

When asked this question, he responded that working with and getting to know clients on a variety of projects. One of the benefits of working in the print industry is the ability to meet so many interesting people and help bring their vision to life through print. Dan says that relationships have been key to his success and joy at Nahan, not only with clients but with his Nahan team. Having the opportunity to work with a group of dedicated people is something he will always be thankful for and will cherish as he moves into retirement. One of Dan’s fondest Nahan memories is “Quality Days” where everyone in the company would come together in an auditorium to do department report-outs. He enjoyed how everyone was together and how great of a time it was.

“To any of our new employees or those considering starting a career at Nahan, Nahan is a great organization – and if you want to grow and develop, you will get the chance here.”

Dan Peterka
Dan (left) and other Nahan team members accepting an award at our 2018 Sales Recognition Event.

Plans for the Future

On his first day of retirement, Dan plans on creating a master list of everything he wants to do before Thanksgiving. He also plans on cooking a special dinner for his family with the help of his granddaughter. Overall, Dan is looking forward to being able to have more time to be present in the moment and available for family and friends. He is excited to start checking off things on his list to get done,  and also to be able to volunteer and give back to the community in new ways.

I had the opportunity to work with many outstanding customers, and to them I want to say ‘thank you for the opportunity.’”

Dan Peterka

Careers at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our careers page or contact us to learn more.

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

Printing 101 Series – Common Printing Terms: Postal Glossary

Author: Melissa Fransen

In the print industry, like any industry, there are a lot of acronyms and terms that are used and that is why we are here to help! In this blog, we’ll explore common printing postal terms.

Common Printing Postal Terms

Aspect Ratio (Letters only) – The length of the mailer divided by the height. For letter-rate mail this is required or an upcharge in postage will be incurred.

Bulk Mail – This term is generally used to describe commercial, business, or advertising mail. First-Class Mail presort requires a minimum of 500 pieces for each mailing. USPS Marketing Mail (previously Standard Mail) requires 200 pieces or 50 pounds for each mailing to qualify for presort discounts.

Business Mail Entry Unit (BMEU) – The area of or individual postal facility where mailers present commercial and permit mail for acceptance.

Carrier Route Mail – The routes where individual USPS carriers deliver mail. They are much smaller than ZIP Codes, with roughly fifteen Carrier Routes per postal ZIP Code. They are useful in helping to reduce direct mail marketing costs while increasing response rates.

CoMailing (Flats only) – Is the process of merging individual mail pieces from multiple mailing streams into a single mailing stream. This process improves the USPS delivery sortation characteristics of the total mailing which reduces postage and the number of times mail pieces are handled within the USPS.

Commingling (Letters only) – Is a process by which mailings from more than one company are combined to meet USPS discount minimums for quantity for mailings to NDC/SCF locations. Sorting the mail by zip code in much larger volumes reduces postage.

Flat – This term is used to describe large envelopes, newsletters, or catalogs. Flats must have one dimension that is greater than 6 1/8” high or 11 ½” long or ¼ inch thick. Aspect Ratio does not apply.

Indicia/Mailing Permit – Imprinted designation on mail piece that denotes postage payment (e.g., permit imprint). Minimum size of ½ x ½”. A printed indicia, instead of an adhesive postage stamp or meter stamp that shows postage prepayment by an authorized mailer.

Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) –  Is used to sort and track letters and flats. It allows mailers to use a single barcode to participate in multiple Postal Service programs simultaneously and assists in the tracking of individual mail pieces.

Letter-Rate – This is the rate charged to what the USPS determines to be letter sized pieces.  Here is a link to a USPS rate chart for easy reference to letter rate criteria and more.

NCOA National Change of Address –  Is a USPS service that makes available current change of address information that can help reduce your undeliverable mail.

Network Distribution Center (NDC) – The NDC network consists of strategically located automated facilities that serve as centralized mail processing and transfer points for designated geographic areas, including Area Distribution Centers (ADCs), Sectional Center Facilities (SCFs), and auxiliary service facilities (ASFs).

Non-Machinable Mail – First-Class Mail letters, that are nonmachinable, USPS Marketing Mail letters that are square, rigid or have one or more nonmachinable characteristics are subject to the nonmachinable surcharge.

Examples of a nonmachinable letter include:

  • It has an aspect ratio (length divided by height) of less than 1.3 or more than 2.5 (a square envelope has an aspect ratio of 1, making it nonmachinable).
  • It is more than 4-1/4 inches high or more than 6 inches long and is less than 0.009 inch thick.
  • It has clasps, strings, buttons, or similar closure devices.
  • It is too rigid.
  • It has a delivery address parallel to the shorter side of the mailpiece.
  • It contains items such as pens, pencils, or keys that create an uneven thickness.

Letters with non-paper surfaces, other than envelope windows or attachments that are allowed under eligibility standards by class of mail.

Presorted Mail – A form of mail preparation, required to bypass certain postal operations, in which the mailer groups pieces in a mailing by ZIP Code or by carrier route or carrier walk, qualifying for automation rates. Presorted First-Class Mail is a nonautomation category for a mailing that consists of at least 500 addressed mail pieces.

Sectional Center Facility (SCF) – This is where mail is combined with other mail geographically by zip code prefixes so it can travel to a larger regional facility called a NDC (Network Distribution Center). (Travels from a NDC to the SCF then to the local facility for delivery).

Sortation – To separate mail by a scheme or ZIP Code range; to separate and place mail into a carrier case; to distribute mail by piece, package, bundle, sack, or pouch, for distribution to its final delivery point.

USPS Tracking –  An extra service (for example, TrackMyMail) purchased by mailers to have their mail piece scanned to record the final scan from the SCF to the local facility for delivery. Extra services fees are in addition to postage.

Walk Sequence – This is where the mail is provided in the exact order (in the line of travel that the carrier delivers in his/her route) in which it is to be delivered so the carrier does not need to sort the mail, resulting in time and cost savings for the USPS.

Nahan is Here to Help!

Questions? Our friendly Sales Team is always here to help with unfamiliar terms and to guide you along the way! Contact us any time.

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Mixing PMS Colors

I remember the days in a small Minnesota print shop, when I guessed at color by number of parts (Note, a part is actually a percentage of total weight) and mixed them up on a slab of granite. I used a razor blade to draw down the color and compare to the book.  Soon the “by guess” and “by golly” method changed to include a scale and a “quick peek,” which was a small rubber roller that would apply a measured amount of ink to the paper for a closer color match. Not very scientific but it worked.

How to Mix Colors

For point of reference, an easy color to mix is PMS 185 – the build of 185 is 75% Rubine and 25% Yellow.

Direct Mail

How to mix??

  • First, you will need an ink knife, sort of a longer putty knife, and a hard surface like glass or stainless steel.
  • Then, determine how much ink you need (that is a different story for another blog).  Let’s say two pounds.
  • Multiply  2 by .75 = 1.5 lbs. of Rubine Red (75% Rubine)
  • Weigh out 1.5 lbs. or Rubine red and put this on the mixing surface
  • Multiply 2 by .25 = .5 Yellow (25% Yellow)
  • Weigh out .25 lbs. mixing yellow and put on the mixing surface

Just as in the old days you can put your ink on glass or granite or other smooth surface and mix them together. On a larger scale these colors would be mixed on a machine.

Do watch out for the comedian mixing up warm red!! See explanation below…

  • Once thoroughly mixed take a sample and draw it down on your paper and compare it to the PMS guide. Note: colors change as they dry, use a hair dryer or hot air gun to speed up the process, if you are mixing up UV ink you will need a light source.
  • Also, you must use the right matching guides to match your mixture. Formula Guides are based on the paper you are using coated or uncoated. Important note: Paper makes a big difference when matching color. Make sure you are drawing down the ink on the same paper you are going to be printing on..

Color Matching

If you are comfortable matching with your eyes, and the color looks good, you are good to go. The light in the area where you are reviewing color does make a difference. Are you viewing in 5k light? 5000 Kelvin light is the industry standard for viewing color.

Even though color has become more of a science with processes and standards, one can still weigh out small batches and mix them on a table and get relatively close.

Your ink company has become the expert with all the tools and standards for consistent larger batches of PMS spot colors. They will provide you will a drawdown of the color on the paper you are going to print on and provide spectral analysis if requested. (Some clients insist on the LAB having a Delta E of  +/- .02), and for good reason. Corporate branding is expensive to achieve and maintain for immediate brand recognition.

If you need more high-tech color matching, request a drawdown from your printer and ask for LAB print out to accompany it. (What is LAB? Check out X-rite blog)

If you know the spectral specifications for your color and you have a spectrophotometer, you can check your LAB, or you can compare the LAB number to the book (or your swatch) and then get an LAB +/-, which is also known as Delta E. Here is a great link about LAB and Delta E.

Commercial Printing

About Pantone

Around 1963, The Pantone (PMS) concept came along to help printers mix a color that would match if it were mixed in New York or California or any other state.

Originally, Pantone colors were mixed using a set of 11 base colors to achieve 500 colors and used a numeric system to identify them.  

Now, 14 basic colors are used as the building blocks that grew in to 1,114 available colors in the formula guide.

Base colors include Yellow, Warm Red, Rubine Red, Rhodamine Red, Purple, Violet, Process Blue, Reflex Blue, Green, Black and Transparent White (clear), Yellow 012, Orange 021, Blue 072 and Red 032.

Speaking of high-tech, Pantone now provides RGB, HEX and CMYK equivalent values for each color. You can look up PMS colors like 185 on their Pantone Web Site.

In 2007 Pantone and Xrite teamed up to become one company.

The new color guide with additional colors has 1,755 solid color choices.

There are other colors that can be used such as florescent or metallic inks; however, the standard color matching guides or PMS colors are the starting point and base of the main color matching system.

Pantone recommends changing your formula guide annually as paper can yellow and color can fade.

Nahan’s In-House Ink Company, INX

Nahan Printing has an in-house ink company called INX. They are industry-leading experts in color consistency and creativity. This allows Nahan to build custom mixed colors on site, provide quick turn drawdowns to customers, and create an ink mix that matches across all of our presses. This helps to maintain color consistency across components and help maintain brand standards.

Hot ink trick

The HOT INK TRICK is an old spoof. As the press comedian is mixing ink on the slab, an office person (You) walks up and asks what you are doing? (S)He will respond: Mixing warm red, it gets real hot when I mix it. Want to feel? So you put your hand near the ink and the press comedian slaps your hand in to the ink…The old hot ink trick is not very funny 🙂

(Stay tuned for more printing inside jokes….perhaps next time I can fill you in on the paper stretcher or the dot gain. We usually keep them in the basement).

Author: Jim Hesch is Customer service leader at Nahan, with ink in his blood…

Employee Spotlight: Chad Coss

Author: Camille Lehmann, Marketing

Nahan is proud to welcome our newest addition to Human Resources – Chad Coss. In only a short time, Chad has proven to be a hardworking and dedicated team member. We are excited to see how his talents will continue to make Nahan a welcoming place for our employees. I had the privilege to get to know Chad and learn how he has been enjoying his time at Nahan and what led him here.

From Milking Cows to Human Resources

Chad’s work history goes back to a younger age than most. At just 13 years old, he held his first job in rural Wisconsin working on a dairy farm feeding calves. Eventually, he was promoted to milking the cows at 4:00 AM on weekend mornings during the school year. He credits this hard work at a young age for being a major factor in teaching him responsibility. Later on, Chad traded milking cows for attending the University of Wisconsin – River Falls for a Bachelor of Science in Business Communications and then a Master of Science in Human Resources Development from Villanova University.

Human Resources Around the World

Chad has been working in Human Resources for over 18 years as either a Human Resources Manager or another Human Resources Leadership role. Before coming to us, he had spent 5+ years in the Technology/Software/SaaS industry. Earlier in his career, he worked as a Human Resources Manager for a family-owned organization that specialized in Disaster Recovery and Emergency Response. In 2010, he traveled to Haiti after the earthquake and helped create a new international business entity in response to the natural disaster. He has also spent several years in other manufacturing and medical device industries as a Human Resources Leader supporting global production operations. Chad credits the variety of industries and locations he’s devoted his time and talent to for what he has learned about different Human Resources practices.

“I have worked all over the U.S. and the globe and I am honored to now call Nahan my home.”

Chad Coss with his three sons and puppy.

Exciting Projects in the Works

The Human Resources Team is excited for the opportunity Chad brings to the team for growth and evolution as a business and  for workforce. Chad believes that Nahan is home to terrific people in every department and he is excited to see how the team will work together to grow. He believes that digging into the talent that is available in our team and making continuous learning and professional growth opportunities available will strengthen the entire company.

Chad Coss and his family at Disney World.

“The best advice I’ve ever been given is to “always do your best.” My parents gave that to me when I was growing up, and I still give this same advice to my own kids because it’s relevant and true regardless of time period, generational category, or time in your life.”

Life Beyond Nahan

When he’s not leading the Human Resources Department, Chad enjoys camping, hiking, golfing, and many other outdoor activities. He enjoys spending time with his family. He is proud of how his young boys are growing into caring and responsible people. Once the pandemic is over, Chad says he would like to visit Glacier National park again with his family.

Careers at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our careers page or contact us to learn more.

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

Printing 101 Series – Coatings

Author: Melissa Fransen

For the first-timers to print or those just starting to consider what a printed campaign can do to drive your digital marketing efforts, this blog is for you! In this blog, we will discuss coatings.

Why do I want to use a coating on my piece?

A coating adds protection to your piece to get through the mail in good shape and is strongly recommended, especially if your piece has heavy ink coverage. Coatings can also be used as a design element.  Applying a coating can change the final appearance and tactile experience.  Multiple coatings can also be used to create special effects or draw attention to a specific image.

What is the difference between coatings?

There are three main types of coatings: UV, Varnish and Aqueous.

  • UV coating is a VOC-free (when cured) liquid coating that can give incredible gloss, textures, or gloss dull effects. It cures by exposure to UV light.
  • Varnish is an ink; it can be Gloss, Satin or Dull. 
  • Aqueous is a water-based coating; it can be Gloss, Satin, Dull, or Soft Touch.

There are a lot of variables that impact which coating will be best for your printed piece.

Variables can include things such as paper type, ink coverage, desired outcome of the final product, and more. Our experienced Sales Team will guide you through the entire process of choosing the best coating for your printed piece for optimal results.

Request a Sample Pack

Let us show you some samples of different coatings to give you ideas for your next marketing piece. Request your sample kit today.

We are Here to Help

Our Sales Team is here to help guide you. Contact us to learn more.

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Printing 101 Series – Binding

Author: Melissa Fransen

For first-timers to print or those just starting to consider what a printed campaign can do for your marketing efforts, this blog series is for you!  We’ll call it our Printing 101 Series and we’re just getting started! We’ll be adding Printing 101 topics each month and if there is something we can help you learn about, let us know. We want to tailor our Printing 101 series to you!

Without further ado, let’s get started on the first topic – Binding! At Nahan, we primarily bind booklets or catalogs two ways: 1) Perfect binding and 2) Saddle Stitching.

Perfect Binding

Perfect Binding binds the book together by gluing folded pages (signatures) to form a spine. The below photo shows an example of a perfect-bound catalog. Perfect binding creates a nice, polished look for your catalog and is a great option for high-impact branded marketing pieces and larger page counts. For a perfect bound project to be successful, we typically suggest a minimum of approximately 48 pages.

Design Tip: How do I setup the cover? Your Account Manager can calculate the spine thickness for you. The cover files should be set up as a 2-page spread including the spine amount. A hinge score is almost always necessary and applied 1/4” away from the spine on both covers and is included in the final size of your front and back covers. A knockout is required for the entire spine plus 1/8” into the hinge score (either side of the spine) for the inside front cover and inside back cover. (A knockout is the removal of part of an image or colors so glue, ink jetting, etc. can adhere to the paper).

Saddle Stitching

Saddle Stitching binds pages that are folded, nested, and then stapled together with wire staples. Saddle-stitched jobs are generally a cheaper option than perfect binding. They typically focus on a lower page count and this option is often selected for longer-run projects.

Design Tip: Total page count must be in increments of 4.  You will need to be aware of your page placement as crossovers (see below) must be designed to retain the lineup of the images across the pages.        

Request a Nahan Sample Pack and Learn More

Let us show you some samples of both perfect bound and saddle-stitched catalogs! Request your sample kit today.

Also, check out our blog on The Fine Art of Finishing Print to learn more about Nahan’s focus on finishing. As an added bonus, we also have a number links included in that blog with some great resources from Sappi.

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Employee Spotlight: Pat Nahan

Author: Camille Lehmann, Marketing

Part of what makes Nahan unique is its devotion to being a privately-owned business ever since it was founded by Jim and Helen Nahan in 1962. Pat Nahan, the grandson of the founders, is the Vice President of National Accounts and is celebrating his 25th anniversary this month.

Working as a Family

As a teenager, Pat remembers getting his start at Nahan by mowing the lawn, washing windows, and painting. Over the past 25 years, he has invested his time and energy into the family business working in several different roles throughout the company. With his father as Nahan’s CEO, Pat has had to earn respect at the company like every other employee. He is thankful that his father expects the same results from him as everybody else at the company and credits that to helping him grow as a professional. Pat believes that his father expecting results from him has also taught him to treat others how he would like to be treated and to stand on his own merits.

 “The best advice I’ve been given by family has been to never give up. It doesn’t matter if it is on a job we are trying to win or a challenging startup of a new piece of equipment. The attitude of never giving up is what sets us apart.” 

Pat Nahan
Pat Nahan

The Nahan Difference

As a member of our Sales team, Pat explains what he enjoys most about his position is in the ability to help solve problems for people. He likes being able to work together with a customer to find a solution when they are faced with an issue. When asked what made him the proudest, he commented on the company’s ability to reshape and reinvent itself over the years. He believes a significant part of Nahan’s success can be attributed to the team’s dedication and flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions. Over his 25 years, Pat has seen Nahan work through challenges and come out stronger on the other side.

 “The best part about being on the Nahan team is the culture. Everyone here wants to win and have fun while doing it. The culture here is great; it’s one thing to talk about it, but it is another thing to actually have it. I am fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best minds in the industry.”

Pat Nahan
Pat Nahan

Outside of the Office

When Pat isn’t working at Nahan, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons.. He can often be found fishing, boating, or working on his golf game (which he describes as seeing how far he can get the ball into the woods or water). While Pat doesn’t consider himself a machinist, he finds it fun to weld and make new ideas come to life with metal.  He also enjoys spending time with his father racing cars that they work on together.

Pat and his father Mike Nahan celebrating a race car win.

Interested in joining the Nahan privately-owned team? Learn more about our career opportunities. 

Bio: Camille Lehmann is on the Marketing team and started with Nahan in January of 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management. In her spare time, Camille enjoys writing, going to coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.

The 5 F’s of Color – The Challenges and How Nahan Achieves Color Matching

 

Nobody wants purple apples or green faces on their beautifully printed products. Nahan is proud to be a G7 Master Certified Facility and we also have two G7 Experts on our team. Color matching is just one of the ways that Nahan ensures a quality piece on every single product that goes through our doors. Let’s explore color matching and how Nahan deals with challenges regarding color.

Note: G7 is an international standard for ensuring color matching across multiple platforms.

What is the most challenging part about color matching on press?

Well, let’s just say there are many. Some images are a challenge without having to share the spotlight with other images. For example, a fresh cut steak could look inedible if not done right. Often times, the most challenging are the ones you want to look the best.

Which ones are most challenging?

Here are what we like to call as the 5 F’s: Flesh tones, Fashion, Furniture, Fur and Food. These are challenging because if a little off-color, furniture can look cheap and food can look unattractive.  Of course, these images may be your focal point and not getting them right can tarnish your brand.

Color matching

While on their own they may not be challenging, some images can collectively pose serious problems for a printer. Once a color is set on the first press form, all subsequent press forms are then driven by that first form. If there are crossovers, there could end up being some significant compromises.

Note: A crossover is one image running across multiple pages and possibly multiple press forms.

Color matching

How do you deal with them?

First: Prioritize your images and press forms

  • Go to your printer and do a “Press Check,” approving color on press.
  • Consult with your salesperson, look at all the forms and decide which one to start with – probably one with a couple of crossovers.

It is easy to be tempted to start with a form that has a bright color, corporate color or someone’s favorite photo and push the ink to make it pop. However, it is important to be careful with this. The next form may be a neutral and crossover to that first form and you may end up with a spoiled image.

Second: Make sure you are running to strict standards and specifications such as Gracol/G7

The use of real estate on the press sheet can be a challenge since different ranges of colors need to run in-line with each other. Perhaps it is fruit running in-line with flesh tones, or furniture running in-line with jewelry, which makes one image more difficult to hit your desired color.

  • Often there are limited choices as to what you can do about these.
    • You could stop the press and have a color technician mask off and color correct a disagreeable color area, however, this can be very expensive.
  • You could anticipate certain colors being a challenge and run a spot PMS color.
  • Running to a standard helps ensure matching to proof.
    • Make sure if you are supplying a color proof that it has color bars and has been produced to a standard like GRACOL / G7 or FOGRA.

Third: Paper quality is really important

  • Paper grain gives the sheet stability.
    • This can affect registration, which can in-turn, affect color. As sheets distort under the pressure of the printing press, the registration can move. This can cause color to shift and images to slur.
    • A good quality stable sheet will help with critical color matches.
  • If you are using uncoated or matte papers, the right calibration curve for those papers is very important.
    • Your experienced color technician should control this.

Fourth: Presses need to be in good mechanical condition, with repeatable results

  • This may be out of your control, but you can tell if you have chosen a printer wisely by how clean the machine is, or by how much your team cares about their work environment. When choosing, ask about their press maintenance schedule. Often times, their response can tell you a lot.

Nahan as a Trusted Color Expert

Nahan has two G7 Experts and Color Technicians who are here for consultation and will be at press as needed to help ensure premium color. We regularly calibrate our machines to ensure our high standards are met. Our presses are maintained by experienced press crews at regular intervals and we have a full maintenance department to help ensure all the G7 calibrating time is achievable and print results are repeatable.

In the event of a difficult color, our G7 experts can often achieve desired results without color correction, but rest assured, they are here for you if it is needed.

Nahan is a G7 Master Printer which means we have calibrated certain equipment to G7 gray balance & neutral tone curves for proofs, Offset & digital presses.

Interested in learning more about Nahan? Contact us to learn more about our printing services.

Bio: Jim Hesch is the head of Customer Service at Nahan and a certified printing geek. (Always make sure you print with someone who is certified)…

The Quality of our Employees – One of our Nahan Differentiators

Author: Melissa Fransen

Quality. We pride ourselves on the quality of our print. We pride ourselves on the quality of our customer service. We pride ourselves on the quality of delivering results. Ultimately, all of the quality we pride ourselves on comes down to one thing and that is the quality of our people. Expecting excellence from our employees requires a strong dedication and vision from our training team. Excellent employees are built with the support, encouragement, and knowledge of talented team leaders. When you become an employee of Nahan, you become a part of something bigger – an entire community of people who are invested in producing great results and in living our Nahan Values. No matter your position, whether you are a Production Assistant or a Leader in the company, everyone on our team plays an integral role at Nahan and every position matters.

“A fun fact about Nahan is that our average tenure is 12.2 years.”

Our Hiring Process

Finding quality employees starts with our hiring process. Great employees refer great employee so we offer an employee referral bonus program. Other than word of mouth for new recruits, we post open positions on our website, our social media pages (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter), on the radio, and through a variety of other advertising means. Our hiring process includes a series of interviews and if selected for a role, the new employee will be required to a complete a background check and a physical prior to starting with our team.

Starting a Job at Nahan – Orientation

Beginning a new role at Nahan starts with a day of orientation, which includes everything from basic safety to hearing protection to learning Nahan’s emergency action plans. We also invite a number of employees from across the company to a luncheon to welcome our new employees and to make them feel comfortable (Note: with COVID-19, this is temporarily suspended at the moment). At Nahan, safety is at the cornerstone of what we do, so we put a lot of emphasis on our safety programs right from day one. On the second day of employment at Nahan, we start training on manuals, processes, and procedures. For manufacturing positions, we also start to give new employees “a feel” of their new position with some very basic training on the production floor.

Setting our Employees Up for Success

After orientation, the employee starts to learn more about their new role each day. We get them comfortable with equipment, maintenance, trouble-shooting, basic procedures, and standard operating procedures (SOP’s). Our leaders also pair our new employees with a “buddy” so they will have a resource to learn from and a “go to person” with questions. Our leaders stay in close contact with new employees and they also move them to different equipment so they get cross-functional training on a variety of equipment. This provides an opportunity for our employees to gain experience and to find what they enjoy doing each day.

Mod Training

In addition to the above ways of setting our employees up for success, we also start doing “mod” training. There are four mods for each position. These mods provide “on-the-job training” for employees. Each mod takes up to twelve weeks. These mods give employees time to “practice” their new role. We track the progress of each new employee in their mods and each mod has a test at the end that will need to be completed and passed. If we see an opportunity that the employee should have further training, we will continue hands-on training with the employee to ensure they are successful in their role.

Certification Patches

Once an employee passes all four mods, they become “certified.” With the certification process, they receive a patch that they can put on the sleeve of their uniform to showcase their certification level.

Promoting Within

At Nahan, there is a lot of room for growth and for advancement opportunity. We prefer to promote within our walls for positions and post our available positions internally.

Jobs at Nahan

If you are interested in learning more about a career at Nahan, visit our careers page or contact us to learn more.

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.