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.

 

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.

How Often People Check Their Mailbox and Other Fun Facts

Author: Melissa Fransen

Every day I stop at our mailbox to get our mail.

I’m also signed up for USPS Informed Delivery emails, so I get an email each morning that contains details of what we’ll be receiving that day in our mailbox.

The catalogs we receive typically end up on the end table in our living room to browse through. In fact, at this present moment, we have about 10 catalogs that we plan to look through again this weekend so we can place some Holiday gift orders. I also have a number of direct mail offers I’ve kept as well and I have those in an organizer in the corner of our kitchen cupboard.

As I was walking down my driveway the other day to get my mail, I started wondering about my mail habits and how closely they match other people’s habits. So, I decided to do some research.

How Often Do People Check Their Mailbox
Photo: cottonbro from Pexels

How Often People Check Their Mailbox

According to the USPS, 98% of people visit their mailbox every day to get their mail and 77% of people sort through their mail immediately. According to a study the USPS conducted, most consumers set aside time each day to sit down with their mail and on average, they spend 30 minutes with catalogs and 25 minutes with direct mail! Here is another interesting statistic, according to a report from MultiChannel Merchant regarding Holiday shopping this year, 37% of people have become more excited to receive their mail and 30% are spending more time reading promotional messages from the mail than before the pandemic.

Informed Delivery

According to a recent update from USPS, over 20% of U.S. households are now signed up for USPS Informed Delivery and the subscription rate is growing with over 350,000 new subscribers weekly. 79% of Informed Delivery users are engaging with the daily emails and 82% of these users are engaging in the mornings.  According to the USPS update we received, the emails are generating a 68% Email Open Rate (which is over 3 times higher than the industry average email open rate of 18%) and a 2-6% Click Through Rate. As a marketer, those stats get me excited!

Other Fun Facts

Here are some other fun facts/statistics I found interesting:

Looking to Stand Out in the Mailbox?

At Nahan, we are proud to offer award-winning catalog and direct marketing services as a part of our product offering. If you are in interested in learning more, 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.

Cover photo by Sean Patrick from Pexels

Nahan Wins Two Golds at the Annual Gold Ink Awards Competition

SAINT CLOUD, MN – Sept. 15, 2020 – Printing Impressions Magazine, producer of the annual Gold Ink Awards, announced the winners of the 2020 Annual Gold Ink Awards Competition. The Gold Ink Awards are considered one of the industry’s most prestigious print competitions.

Nahan Printing, Inc. is a proud recipient of two Gold awards! The first is a Gold for the Neiman Marcus 2019 Christmas Catalog and the second is a Gold for the Lawrence & Schiller South Dakota Activity Book. The winning pieces are in the “Consumer Catalogs, Web” and “Consumer Catalogs, Sheetfed” categories. In addition to the two Gold award wins, Nahan also received five Pewter awards in the Catalogs division.

This year’s Gold Ink Award winners were chosen from more than 400 entries submitted within 43 different categories. Winning pieces were chosen based on print quality, technical difficulty, and overall visual effect. All winners can be found at https://www.piworld.com/extension/gold-ink-awards/2020/.

 “It is great to be recognized by Printing Impressions for the quality of work we put into every product, each and every day. We are once again, very proud of our team’s commitment and dedication to quality; an asset that continues to set us apart in the industry.” said John Klumb, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

About Nahan

Nahan Printing is a Minnesota-based, independent, privately-owned, 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, ecommerce, financial services, non-profit, hospitality, and more. With a client roster of legendary brands, Nahan prints iconic work that represents the highest level of quality and innovation in the industry. For more information about Nahan, please visit http://www.Nahan.com.

Augmented Reality and Catalogs

Author: Ken Anderson, National Sales Executive

After the year we’ve had, perhaps you feel 2020 has had us trapped inside an Augmented Reality program.  I know I do! 

What is Augmented Reality (AR)?

To keep it simple, it’s the melding of the real world around us and a computer-generated world.  It’s not The Matrix, Mr. Anderson….

Mostly Augmented Reality has found its place in games and with increasing power of mobile devices and fine-tuned software, it’s getting better with each passing day.  Who knew kid’s games could increase the value of your catalog and bring more customers to your door, physically or virtually?  Augmented Reality will help increase interaction with your catalog and loyalty to your brand.  It can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. 

Using AR with Catalogs

In the early days of AR, the designer of the catalog would have to embed QR barcodes; those little square black and white things of “beauty” that went so well with the fine products you’re selling.  Today, AR will work with image recognition which eliminates the need for QR codes. (Don’t worry if you love them, you can still use them).  The advantages of image recognition is that you can make changes to product information up to and beyond the press date.  You can control the information on the back end of the Mobile App and change it to meet your ever-changing needs.  This ability may even increase the shelf life of your catalog and allow you to move inventory that may be moving slower or alter an offer that has moved a product faster than you thought it would.  That’s a problem most companies need a little of these days.

As AR continues to advance, customers utilize AR to try on clothes, shoes, hats, glasses, and more to see how great they look in your products.  AR will allow them to see how that couch will fit in their family room or how patio furniture will make their back yard perfect for the staycation they’re planning.  Do you sell products that need to be assembled?  Use image recognition and AR to launch an assembly video.  As a dad, I would no longer have to pretend I know how to assemble the new purchase, because secretly the instructions are confusing to me, I can watch the video.  Who wouldn’t love that?

Print brings results, far more than any other channel.  Digital enriches the experience.  Why not combine the two for increased brand loyalty, increased interaction, increased shelf life, and increased sales?  That’s a lot of increases everyone will love. Interested in learning more? Check out our marketing services page!

Bio: Ken Anderson is a National Sales Executive on our Sales Team. Ken has decades of print experience and has ink stains to prove it. He is a father of four and is an avid outdoorsman.  

The Fine Art of Finishing Print

Author: Jim Hesch, Customer Service Leader

Focusing on quality and unique capabilities sets us apart. It’s all in the Presentation.

For the person who, in the end will open your envelope, mailer or book, it is all in the presentation.

Beautiful color, gloss or dull techniques, metallics and foil, or attention grabbing raised gloss UV can certainly grab one’s attention. Using an emboss sculpture die to make a message stand out and look 3D or a tactile coating can enhance a piece, too. A cool fold, pop up, or even an iron cross are tried and true attention grabbers for the end user.

Nahan’s Focus on Finishing

At Nahan, we pride ourselves on the Finishing of our pieces; the presentation, with good quality binding and complicated inserting. Our team is dedicated to make sure the quality of the piece compliments the goal of your recipient, which is ultimately to successfully reach them and get them to open the piece.

“I love working in Finishing, no two days are the same and no two books are the same. It’s the collaboration that makes it fun. I am always learning. Yeah, we are obsessed with going the extra mile.”

– Jim Dombrovski, Finishing Shift Leader

“For those of us who are passionate about Finishing, we get to take a nicely printed sheet and turn it into something cool, and we get to touch it and see it before the customer ever gets to see it.”

– Doug Karls, Trainer

Developing Creative Solutions

We have an incredibly creative team to help you find that eye-catching piece; something unusual or unique and are able to complete affordably. Our capabilities are unique, customizable, and with our creative staff, can be game changers. Check out our marketing services page for more!

In the end, we really like Finishing (first).

Resources

Sappi has a wonderful series of publications that can help you in your creative presentation endeavor.

Check out Bindery Techniques issue #6: https://www.sappi.com/standard-volume-6

Or Issue 4, scoring and folding: https://www.sappi.com/standard-volume-4%E2%80%94scoring-folding

The Neuroscience of Touch: https://www.sappi.com/the-neuroscience-of-touch.

Another fun series in finishing techniques is the Fold Factory, Fold of the Week. Check out their YouTube Videos for inspiration and ideas.

Have Fun, Stay Warm and Tip On…

Our Blogger is Jim Hesch, a manager here at Nahan Printing. Jim has been in the printing trade since 1973 and has a passion for finishing and customer service. 

Catalog Work Wins Gold

SAINT CLOUD, MN – November 16, 2018 – Sappi North America has announced that Nahan has won a gold and a silver award in the catalog division in its annual Printer of the Year competition honoring the best printing work in the industry.

Dillard’s The Style of Christmas 2017 Gift Guide Gold (Catalogs)
Bergdorf Goodman Pre-Fall 2018 Collections Silver (Catalogs)

Making the Cut

This year’s Sappi winners were selected from over 1,500 entries within 10 different categories. The categories ranged from digital printing and catalogs to brochures and direct mail. Winning pieces were chosen based on overall impact of the piece, degree of difficulty in printing techniques, and technical excellence.

“This is the ninth year in a row that Nahan has been honored with a Sappi award. We believe this is a testament to the quality of our print and the quality of our people. We are very proud of this achievement,” said Mike Nahan, CEO. To view Nahan’s Printer of the Year page, go to https://www.sappi.com/nahan-printing-inc.