Our 12 Month Marketing Themes

At our last sales meeting, we focused on the next 12 months marketing themes. We had a presentation from Dallin Harris with Skyhook Internet Marketing so that we can understand the world of website development and marketing. We are looking to partner with someone like Dallin so that when we talk to our customers about website design and SEO, we have a great support system to add to our expertise.

Here are the 12 monthly themes:

June                                 Large Format, Signs, Banners
July                                  Direct Mail, Mailing Services and EDDM
August                             Web Design and SEO
September                      Labels and Packaging
October                           Promotional Items
November                       Four Color Printing
December                        Email Marketing
January                           Mobile Marketing/SMS
February                         Graphic Design
March                              Kitting and Fulfillment
April                                 Marketing Plans
May                                  Manuals and Binders

Here are the activities we will perform for each month for each theme:

1.  In the previous month, we will have extensive training on each item for our salespeople and staff. This will include visits to specific vendors and presentations by knowledgeable staff.

2.  We will plan a discussion with each of our main customers on the subject and do a survey on how this theme effects their business and how we can help.

3.  We will send out a direct mail piece (yes, we do believe in direct mail) on this theme to all of our customers and active prospects.

4.  We will send out an email blast to our customers and prospects promoting this theme item.

5.  In the previous month, we will “beef up” our websites to add content relating to those themes.

6.  I will add blog postings to each of my center websites discussing this theme and linking back to the materials on the website.

That’s the long and short of it as it pertains to our monthly themes. If you would like to comment on our selection, please feel welcome to add your input below.

As always, if you have any printing or marketing needs, please contact us with the information below.

AlphaGraphics Mesa Printing and Marketing          FaceBook Fan Page

AlphaGraphics Tempe Printing and Marketing       FaceBook Fan Page

AlphaGraphics Phoenix Printing and Marketing     FaceBook Fan Page

Twitter: @steveadams291

LinkedIn: stepheneugeneadams

 

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Three Phoenix Valley Chambers Honor AlphaGraphics

On Friday evening, April 26, 2013, AlphaGraphics Mesa on Baseline won the prestigious Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year Award.  AlphaGraphics Mesa is one of the three AlphaGraphics centers owned by Steve Adams. 

Earlier this year, Steve’s other two centers have been honored by both the Tempe Chamber of Commerce and the Glendale Chamber of Commerce. AlphaGraphics Tempe on Elliot & Kyrene received the Tempe Chamber’s Business Excellence Award and Steve Adams, representing AlphaGraphics Phoenix – Northwest Valley won the Glendale Chamber’s Volunteer of the Year Award.

Tempe Chamber Award
Accepting the Award is Meegan T-Adams, Eric Adams and Steve Adams 

The Tempe Chamber of Commerce presented AlphaGraphics on Elliot and Kyrene and Statera with the 2013 Business Excellence Awards at the 16th annual Breakfast for Chamber Champions held February 26, 2013 at the Embassy Suites Tempe.

“The Business Excellence Awards recognize outstanding businesses in our community,” said Mary Ann Miller, President/CEO of the Tempe Chamber. “Both AlphaGraphics and Statera are amazing companies dedicated to their customers and their staffs. We are proud they’re part of the Tempe Chamber, and we celebrate their continued success.”

Recipients must demonstrate a record of business success and growth, community involvement, dedication to employees, leadership, reliability and commitment to customer service.

Here is what they said about us: “AlphaGraphics on Elliot and Kyrene was founded in 1997 and has grown into a successful multi-channel communications and printing firm, nearly doubling its revenue from 2011 to 2012. A member of the Tempe Chamber since its first year of business, its general manager, Eric Adams, received the Volunteer of the Year award in 2011 for his work. Its staff supports the community through donated time and product for local schools and charities. As part of its business model, it has committed more resources to marketing to help stimulate lead generation and sales for its customers, encouraging businesses to take control of their own destinies. The business is leveraging online, mobile, print and marketing communications to remain a valuable resource for its customers.”

Here is a link to the video about us played at the breakfast.

_______________________________

Steve-Glendale Chamber

Steve Adams (right) receiving his award from Don Rinehart, CEO Glendale Chamber
Photo by Ed Sharpe-Glendale Daily Planet

 

On March 1, 2013, Steve Adams won the Glendale Chamber of Commerce’s Bill Nelson Volunteer of the Year Award. Here is what was said prior to giving the award to Steve.

“In Bill’s honor, we would like to present the first annual Bill Nelson Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award to Steve Adams of Alphagraphics. Steve has contributed in many ways to the Chamber, helping us revamp our financial reporting procedures, helping us on membership recruitment efforts and printing a number of Chamber items, such as the invitations you received for this event. Steve has served for several years as the Chamber’s Treasurer and has helped us through many of the financial hard times we’ve experienced over the past few years.”

_______________________

Mesa Chamber Award

Craig Henry, Danny Adams and Steve Adams receiving the award from Sally Harrison, CEO-Mesa Chamber. Photo by Ivan Martinez Photography

 

Finally on April 26, 2013, our Mesa center received the Mesa Chamber’s Small Business of the Year Award. This award was based upon a company’s service to the community, its dedication to its employee’s and its success in operations.

Sally Harrison, President and CEO of the Mesa Chamber, stated “Businesses in Mesa are thriving and becoming more engaged with their community and relationships with other companies. We are pleased to recognize and award AlphaGraphics who daily make an impact on their local surrondings. The Small Business of the Year, chosen based upon having 1-25 employees, in the growth-phase of their brand, and having a true spirit for doing business in Mesa and giving back to their community. We congratulate Steve Adams and his team and thank them for their continued support.”

____________________

“We are honored to hold these three awards for the year from these great Chambers of Commerce. I do believe that these awards reflect the great year we had in 2012 and our dedication to service in our communities, said Steve Adams. The Mesa and Tempe Chamber awards also reflect our dedication to our employees and to our customers. The Glendale Chamber award reflects the Executive Committee’s efforts to help the Glendale Chamber survive the hard economic period we just went through.” Steve has served as the Glendale Chamber’s Treasurer for the last two years.

“This success would not have been possible without the efforts of our managers and our staff. I have been fortunate to have two of my sons, Eric Adams and Danny Adams, work as managers of two of our centers and Jim Bentley, who manages our Phoenix operation. In addition, we just brought on Craig Henry, a Mesa community leader, as our Sales Manager to help grow our sales going forward.”

 

 

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Wake UP!!!

Phoenix Printing and MarketingSteve, where have you been? It’s been over a year since your last confession blog post. I have been feeling a little guilty lately because I still reference my blog at the bottom of my emails, on my websites, on Facebook and on Twitter.

So, what got me to think about starting again? Well for one thing, I just downloaded an ebook from Hubspot which shows the statistics of the benefits of many blog posts and many landing pages on your website. You can download this ebook entitled “Uncovering Marketing Benchmarks from 7,000 Businesses” by going to this link.

How Many Blog Posts?

This study shows that if you post more than 5 times a month, you will see a significant increase in the traffic to your site. I will tell you, my three businesses keep me busy enough that 5 times a month will never happen. In fact, this analysis says that if you have more than 15 blog posts a month, your website traffic will increase more than 5 times compared to companies that do not post a blog. Companies that increase their blog posts from 3-5 times per month to 6-10 posts per month more than double the leads they get from their websites.

Well, I’m not going to be that active. However, the other part of this study states that if you publish over 100 blog posts, your leads will multiply by almost 5 times. If you post over 20 articles your traffic will increase by 45%.

In Conclusion:

Look for more from me as we go forward. I won’t be as verbose as I was in the past…too much pressure to sound smart. But I will be throwing out little tidbits as we go.

You can always contact us at the following AlphaGraphics websites:

AlphaGraphics Mesa Printing and Marketing FaceBook Fan Page

AlphaGraphics Tempe Printing and Marketing FaceBook Fan Page

AlphaGraphics Phoenix Printing and Marketing FaceBook Fan Page

Twitter: @steveadams291

LinkedIn: stepheneugeneadams

 

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118 Seconds

Jeff Hayzlett's "The Mirror Test"At last year’s AlphaGraphics conference in Tucson, our featured speaker was Jeff Hayzlett, the author of “The Mirror Test” and the recent Chief Marketing Officer at Kodak. The context of the title is a question about whether your business is still breathing.  In the book, he talks about the 118.  This is his name for the elevator pitch.  The name reflects the amount of time, in seconds,  in a normal elevator ride. You have 8 seconds to get their attention and about 110 seconds the tell your story in an interesting way to hook them. If you haven’t made the sale in the 118 seconds, you have lost.

Based upon that analogy, Alphagraphics asked the franchise network to submit videos of their 118 with prizes going to the best presentation. The focus of the contest would be to present our offering based upon the “New Now” and the theme of our upcoming conference in Las Vegas in August of “All In”. I will say that the videos are great and most of them are very entertaining.  The world can go see the videos at this link. 118 Seconds Videos. My favorite is the DJayMoney video.

The videos are all fine and good and they reflect very well on the talent we have in our system. However, I do not believe that these videos reflect the spirit of a 118 second pitch.  I rarely see a projection or TV screen in an elevator. The pitch has to come out 1-on-1.

With this, I submit my 118 second elevator pitch for the world:

Hi, I’m Steve Adams, owner of the Alphagraphics Center from down the street. Our role, in this day is to get the revenues of our local small and medium-sized businesses back to where they were prior to the recession. Most of the these businesses in the Phoenix market have seen reductions of revenue over the last 36-months of up to 40%. My job is to help these businesses get this revenue back.

We have a 5-pronged attack to accomplish this:

First, we help our customers to identify their best prospects by analyzing their current customer habits. We do an in-depth analysis of their current customers and then we identify the prospects that will best respond t0 that businesses messages. From this customer analysis, we also identify current customer needs that can be focused on by future marketing efforts.

Second, we plan a detailed marketing plan which will include several channels of communication. This marketing plan will cover such things as branding website rankings, seo and sem, print media and mailing, email marketing,  social media as well as opportunities to use mobile marketing.

Third, based upon this approved marketing plan, we will help a business plan their marketing budget and their marketing timeline.

Fourth, we will implement the plan using our experienced marketing associates.

And finally, we will provide the metrics that show how the current marketing plan is working which allows us to adjust the marketing effort as we go.

Can I arrange a meeting to start the process with your company?

Well, not as exciting as the videos, but this is how it will have to happen in real life to get the sale.

You can always contact us at the following AlphaGraphics websites:

AlphaGraphics Mesa Printing and Marketing FaceBook Fan Page

AlphaGraphics Tempe Printing and Marketing FaceBook Fan Page

AlphaGraphics Phoenix Printing and Marketing FaceBook Fan Page

Twitter: @steveadams291

LinkedIn: stepheneugeneadams

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Branding-Is It What It Used To Be?

A few weeks ago, I attended a short session facilitated by Professor Richard Ettenson from the Thunderbird School of Global Management located in Glendale, Arizona down the street from my AlphaGraphics Phoenix location. Richard is the head of the marketing department at Thunderbird.  In this session, his audience was a group of CFO’s from the Phoenix area. His main topic was trying to convince these CFO’s that the marketing departments are valuable assets in every company and essentially, the CFO’s should learn to appreciate them.

Just a little background on myself. Before I became an entrepreneur and started my AlphaGraphics printing and marketing companies, I was a partner with Deloitte & Touche in the audit department. I am still a non-practicing CPA and my love is still in the numbers.

Richard’s discussion was that as time goes by, a company’s marketing valuation make-up becomes more and more of the intangible variety and less and less of the tangible variety. In the intangible area, marketing and brand have become an increasing percentage of market valuation.  He quoted Peter Drucker as saying in 1954 “Business has two basic functions–marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.”  Richard then went on to show how strong brands allow companies to charge a premium price while still controlling market share, thus being more profitable.

He then described the marketing and brand value chain.  It went like this:

Marketing Activity-Promotes your products and services

Brand Image-What customers think of your brand relative to competitors

Brand Equity or Loyalty-The extent to which your brand image creates a preference for your brand

Customer Behavior-The extent of the change in customer behavior due to this preference

Business Impact-Incremental cash flow resulting from changes in customer behavior.

So Is Branding What It Used To Be?

During the breakout sessions where the CFO’s were supposed to come to the realization that the marketing departments are important and that the CFO’s should cut them some slack, I asked Richard how current his data was. My contention is that after the recession hit, brand loyalty took a big hit. The premium price that a brand was historically able to demand was then being compared to the price of the lessor known brands. I recited my personal experience that our customers were demanding that our prices match our lesser known competitors because price became more of an issue that loyalty and brand equity.  Walmart grew while the premium brands suffered during 2009 and 2010. Richard did agree that more current data may show different results for those years, but in the end, the companies with great brand equities will become dominant again. I do agree that this is what I am seeing now.  As time goes on, pricing has become less and less of an issue.

I also made the comment that the person in charge of building the brand needs to be protected from the CFO by the CEO. Branding is a long-term process and it needs time to develop.  Richard responded that most companies with strong brands also have a very strong CEO.

AlphaGraphics and Branding

There are five key elements of branding:

Brand Position- This is what describes what an organization does and for whom, what its unique value is, how a customer benefits from working with it and what key differentiation it has from its competitors.  Once this is identified, it can be put into a 25, 50 or 100 word version (elevator speech).

Brand Promise-What a company promises to deliver, every time.

Brand Personality-What a brand is known for. This should be 4-6 traits

Brand Story-The company history and a summary of products and services

Brand Associations-This is where AlphaGraphics really shines. Brand associations are the specific physical artifacts that make up the brand. This is the name, logo, colors, taglines, fonts, imagery, etc. Brand associations must reflect the brand promise, all of the brand traits and support the brand positioning statement. All of these factors are then displayed into the company websites, social media sites and in its marketing collateral.

You can always contact us at the following AlphaGraphics websites:

AlphaGraphics Mesa Printing and Marketing          FaceBook Fan Page

AlphaGraphics Tempe Printing and Marketing        FaceBook Fan Page

AlphaGraphics Phoenix Printing and Marketing     FaceBook Fan Page

Twitter: @steveadams291

LinkedIn: stepheneugeneadams

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Do You Really Know Your Customers?

I have been meaning to write a post about this subject for some time now.  I always put it off, because I never felt sure that I really knew what I was going to talk about. At my Mesa Alphagraphics center, we have sold quite a few demographic profiles to our customers with an overwhelming great response from our customers. Unfortunately for me, I was not the person who sold the project or did the footwork necessary to make the project a success.  Since then, I have taken a few webinar classes on the subject and I now feel more comfortable talking about this very important part of our marketing arsenal.

So, What is an AlphaGraphics Demographic Profile?

A customer demographics profile is also know by other terms such as a “data append” or a “customer snapshot” or a “customer data analysis”.  In simplistic terms, what this really entails is a complete analysis of your existing customer base. We take a listing of your customers, along-with their address and put this listing through national data banks to get a profile on those customers.  For a consumer listing these demographic items include: how many adults in the house, age, credit cards held, dwelling type, gender, home ownership, household income, marital status, interests, children’s ages, whether they respond to direct mail, ethnic category, home equity, home value, length of residence, number of children and a few more categories. Once your customer list is crunched through the computers, we then get a great analysis of who your existing best customers are and what are their buying habits. This analysis then gives us the right filters to use to determine who your best prospects are. We can then buy a very targeted list of your best prospects to devote your marketing dollars towards.

A Satisfied Customer

I will give you one example of how we have used this process with one of our clients.  This customer runs a collection of adult living facilities. In the past, we have mailed out over 30,000 pieces per month into various zip codes using a target age as the only filter. The object of the mailer is to get a tour of the facility where the sales staff can do their job.  These mailers were successful (in the 1% range) in helping this facility maintain a high level of occupancy. We proposed to this client that we do a demographic profile of the people that had shown up for these tours. (My client captured this information from each person who agreed to a tour.) Crunching this information into the computer gave us a great profile of who my client should be targeting. Based upon this information, we upgraded the mailer from a postcard to an open house invitation inside an envelope. We decreased the mailer to 1,000 pieces per month. The response rate increased significantly and the first facility was filled in an economy where all other adult living facilities are experiencing significant vacancies. We are now working on the other facilities of this client.

What About Business to Business?

A few years ago, trying to do a demographic profile on a list of business customers was very expensive. The cost is now comparable to doing the consumer list. The demographic items that a business profile uses are as follows: annual sales, legal status, minority owned business designation, owner vs. renter, SIC Division, Website URL present, number of employees, location type, non-profit business, owner gender, SOHO, number of years in business and many more.  We have yet to do a business profile yet, but we are in the process with one of our customers to provide this service.

You can always contact us at the following AlphaGraphics websites:

AlphaGraphics Mesa Printing and Marketing          FaceBook Fan Page

AlphaGraphics Tempe Printing and Marketing        FaceBook Fan Page

AlphaGraphics Phoenix Printing and Marketing     FaceBook Fan Page

Twitter: @steveadams291
LinkedIn: stepheneugeneadams

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Survey Says!

A few months ago, about the same time that I stopped posting on this blog (which will be the subject of another post), I started a monthly survey of my AlphaGraphics customers to see how well we are doing.  I am using a company by the name of Survey Advantage.  The cost to me is fairly cheap and over time, I have been able to survey the customers from all three of my centers using the one account. We have received some great feedback.  Here are the charts to date.

How likely are you to recommend us to colleagues and friends? Response percent Response total
  Very Likely  HistogramHistogramHistogram 78.5% 179
  Likely  HistogramHistogramHistogram 16.2% 37
  Not Sure  HistogramHistogramHistogram 3.5% 8
  Unlikely  HistogramHistogramHistogram 1.3% 3
  Very Unlikely  HistogramHistogramHistogram 0.4% 1

 

How satisfied are you with the quality of the final product? Response percent Response total
  Very Satisfied  HistogramHistogramHistogram 76.2% 176
  Satisfied  HistogramHistogramHistogram 20.8% 48
  Neutral  HistogramHistogramHistogram 2.2% 5
  Dissatisfied  HistogramHistogramHistogram 0.4% 1
  Very Dissatisfied  HistogramHistogramHistogram 0.4% 1

 

How satisfied are you with the quality of our service? Response percent Response total
  Very Satisfied  HistogramHistogramHistogram 77.3% 177
  Satisfied  HistogramHistogramHistogram 17.9% 41
  Neutral  HistogramHistogramHistogram 3.1% 7
  Dissatisfied  HistogramHistogramHistogram 1.3% 3
  Very Dissatisfied  HistogramHistogramHistogram 0.4% 1
  Apart from the products you just purchased, what other services do you have a need for but do not currently purchase from us? We offer all of these services: Response percent Response total
  One & Two Color Printing  HistogramHistogramHistogram 30.8% 20
  Full Color Printing  HistogramHistogramHistogram 36.9% 24
  Variable Data Printing  HistogramHistogramHistogram 10.8% 7
  Black & White Copies  HistogramHistogramHistogram 29.2% 19
  High Speed Color Copies  HistogramHistogramHistogram 10.8% 7
  Finishing/Bindery  HistogramHistogramHistogram 18.5% 12
  Mailing Services  HistogramHistogramHistogram 16.9% 11
  Signs, Posters and Banners HistogramHistogramHistogram 52.3% 34
  Promotional Products  HistogramHistogramHistogram 56.9% 37

 

The great thing about these monthly surveys is that when we receive a negative response, we immediately get an email from Survey Advantage.  We are able to read the comments on the survey and address the issue immediately.  You can also see that there is a question about what services that we provide that the customer would want to know more about.  This has been a great conversation starter with a lot of our AlphaGraphics customers.

One last area of the survey is a question about if the customer knows of anyone else who might need our AlphaGraphics services.  We give each respondent a $20 gift certificate to a place of their choice.

Feedback is critical to the overall success or our three businesses.

You can always contact us at the following AlphaGraphics websites:

AlphaGraphics Mesa Printing and Marketing   FaceBook Fan Page
AlphaGraphics Tempe Printing and Marketing
   FaceBook Fan Page
AlphaGraphics Phoenix Printing and Marketing
   FaceBook Fan Page

Twitter: @steveadams291
LinkedIn: stepheneugeneadams

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Think Before You DON’T Print

Why Print Is Saving the Forests

Have you ever seen the phrase “Think before you print” or “Do you really need to print this email message”. One of our AlphaGraphics owners even has a phrase at the bottom of his emails stating “Please consider the environment. Do you need to print this email?”  These phrases and those that are similar have been born under the going green, climate changing, ecological, conservation minded, save the forests mode that the world is in right now. These are causes that, we at AlphaGraphics whole-heartedly support and are conscious of every day.  The only problem with the “don’t print this” mentality is that the reduction of printed material has the exact opposite effect on the long-term health of our forests.

Print Grows Trees

The Printing and Graphics Association MidAtlantic (PGAMA) is associated with the Printing Industries of America (PIA).  They took it upon themselves to start a program entitled Print Grows Trees and they published a book under the same title. I recently purchased this book from them from the PGAMA website.  The book is only a few pages long and is more of a coffee table book with lots of large printing and beautiful pictures. In fact, I have read the book twice and both times I finished it in about 20 minutes.  I would highly recommend the purchase for any printers that are struggling to explain why print still has value and it makes great lobby reading.

The book starts out with a few facts:

A third of U.S. soil is covered in forests, about 747 million acres

Over half of the forests in the U.S. are privately owned.

60% of the wood harvested in the U.S comes from family-owned forests.

About 20% of family-owned forests are owned by someone at least 75 years old. It is expected that approximately 55 million acres of these forests will be transferred or sold in the next 5 years.

Between 1850  and 1910, the U.S. lost about 1/3 of its forests to agriculture and other development, approximately 190 million acres. Most of the farm land in the middle of our country was once forest lands.

80% of all rain that falls east of the Mississippi River falls on family owned forests and 1/3 of all drinking water comes from forest lands.

It is expected that by year 2050, we will lose another 20 million acres of forests from natural disasters, development or conversion to agriculture lands.

So Why Does All of the Above Matter?

Most people realize in this day and age why forests are important. They sequester carbon, they help provide clean air and water, they provide a natural habitat to a lot of animals and plant life and they help keep the earth from warming.  The private owners of these forests have supported their investments in the forest lands by harvesting selected trees on their land and then replanting those trees, called silviculture. As time has gone by, the methods of doing this have become even more sensitive to the environment. As the demand for paper decreases, we will start to see a process called “cut and run”, whereby the landowners will harvest the trees and then not replace them. The land will be re-purposed or sold for development. The land has to produce some revenue just to pay the annual property tax and estate taxes upon death.

So the conclusion here is that print increases the demand for paper and this helps to keep the forests alive with new growth. If we shut down that demand, the new growth will stop and the forests will slowly decrease in acreage.

The book covers a few other areas that I will not go into detail here but will summarize:

The production of paper has become quite environmentally efficient. 63.4% of paper is now recycled and 60% of paper produced uses bio-fuels and the excess is used for bio-energy.

Significant jobs will naturally be lost in the printing, publishing and paper manufacturing process in the next 8 years, somewhere between 16% and 25%.

The Lacey Act of 2008 prohibits the importation and use of paper which has been harvested illegally.

The process of printing has become more environmentally friendly in the last decade.

An average digital server farm in the U.S. uses the same energy as 25,000 homes and are the fastest growers of the usage of fossil fuels in the world. Their energy usage is doubling each year.

We, at AlphaGraphics, have taken steps to make sure that the paper we use in our printing process is mostly from FSC certified forests and we have obtained our FSC chain-of-custody certification so that our customers can have the FSC logo on their printed materials if they so choose. I wrote a previous blog post on what being FSC certified means to our customers.

So, in conclusion, “Please think of the environment. Do you really need to forward this email?

You can always contact us at the following AlphaGraphics websites:

AlphaGraphics Mesa Printing and Marketing   FaceBook Fan Page
AlphaGraphics Tempe Printing and Marketing   FaceBook Fan Page
AlphaGraphics Phoenix Printing and Marketing   FaceBook Fan Page

Twitter: @steveadams291
LinkedIn: stepheneugeneadams

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Disrupting MY Future

Disrupting the Printing Industry

A couple of months ago, I did a post on the changes that will be going on in your neighborhood print shop in order for them to survive and thrive in this new digital age. In that post I cited the book Renewing the Printing Industry, written by Dr. Joseph Webb (Dr. Joe as we call him in the industry) and Richard Romano. Well, this year they came out with their second book on the subject entitled “Disrupting the Future, Uncommon Wisdom for Navigating Print’s Challenging Marketplace”. The picture on the cover says it all. The photo appears to be centuries old with a printer using a manual letterpress to print a document. Standing in the crowd watching him is a person holding up the iPad for him to see. Talk about the contrasts that we are seeing in the printing and communications business right now.


The book can be downloaded free for members of What They Think, an online source of information for the printing industry,  or is available at Lulu.com in the hardback version for $19.95. Even if you are not a member, go to the free section to see some interesting analysis of what is happening in our industry.

So What Does the Book Say?

Well, the authors start out by saying that if the printing industry had grown at the same rate as  the GDP from 1993, that total printing shipments in the U.S. would have been about $176.2 billion in 2009. However, printing revenues were only $88.2 billion, making the case that, in that period, the industry has lost 50% of what it should have had if it had grown at the same rate as the country. Therefore, the decline that has become quite evident during this Great Recession really started back in the mid-1990’s.

One of the defensive arguements that a lot of printers, including myself, have been using during this period is that print has value and print is vital and therefore the decrease in not entirely warranted. The authors argument here is that print is not vital. It continues to be one of the communications mediums out of several and, in fact, may be the most expensive option available in a lot of circumstances. As the choices of alternatives have developed over the past several years,  print has suffered the consequences.

So, Is Print Dying Declining?

The answer is yes. Print will not die in the foreseeable future but it will continue to decline as more and more alternatives become available to our customers. So, what are we going to do from a printing standpoint? Well here are some of the answers.

1.  Embrace the new media and become experts in it. In order to promote our own businesses, we need to not only understand the new media but we have to become experts in it. From getting a FaceBook personal page, to setting up a Twitter account for our business, to registering on LinkedIn and to setting up a FaceBook fan page for the business. We need to claim our listings on Google Places (Maps), Merchant Circle, Yelp, Bing and Yahoo. We need to understand SEO and how that increases our rankings with Google and Bing. We need to advertise our businesses by using email marketing.

2. We need to start thinking of ourselves as Print Communications providers. For centuries, the only communications medium that we concentrated on was print. In most cases, that was all we needed because, quite frankly, we made a lot of money producing printed items. This has to change. There are now more ways for our customers to communicate with their customers. The great thing is that most small and medium sized businesses cannot adopt these new communications avenues without help.  As we become experts in these new mediums, we can help our customers in all of their communication needs.

3. We need to start thinking about the entire marketing and communications process instead of just the print project. This means we have to have more in-depth discussions with our customers. We cannot survive in this new environment by waiting for our customers to call us when the file is ready to be printed. We need to be part of the overall planning and discussions of the communications project. This means we need better trained salespeople who become more than order takers.

4. We may have to set up a separate division away from the printing company. This is a point that the authors made in their book that I have not entirely accepted. Their major concern is that there is a perception out there that we are printers only and that the best way to become marketing and communications experts in the eyes of our customers is to have a separate company or division that specializes in these areas. I think that having the right conversations with the right customers will ease these erroneous perceptions over time. Will the general public seek us out for our marketing advice? Probably not. But that is not our target. Our existing customer base is where we need to start.

5. We need to hire different people. I’m not saying that we need to fire all of our printers and bindery people. What I am saying is that we need to focus on the marketing and technical skills when we are looking to start hiring again. (If that ever happens). A lot of this will happen naturally. Most of our new hires will be coming to us having grown up in this digital age. They will have their own FaceBook page and they will be active on Twitter. You would not believe the qualifications of the candidates for my last bindery/delivery position. Most of the candidates had a marketing degree at a local university.

6. And lastly, we need to continue to talk about how print is an integral part of the marketing and communications process. We need to start explaining how print can enhance the results of a marketing campaign by many multiples. We need to explain how print is not destroying the environment and, in fact, is better on the environment than all of this electronic equipment over a long period of time. We need to get across that print is the Cadillac of the communications process. Yes, it is more expensive but the returns are significantly better than its digital brethran.

I know that I have not done this book any justice, and I do suggest that all printers read this book, the sooner the better. I will use one quote out of the book that I think summarizes where we have to go as a printing industry:

“The successful printing company of tomorrow will be the hub for managing the creation, coordination, deployment, measurement, and management of communications logistics.”

Thank you Dr. Joe and Richard for a book well on-point.

You can always contact us at the following AlphaGraphics websites:

AlphaGraphics Mesa Printing and Marketing FaceBook Fan Page
AlphaGraphics Tempe Printing and Marketing FaceBook Fan Page
AlphaGraphics Phoenix Printing and Marketing FaceBook Fan Page

Twitter: @steveadams291
LinkedIn: stepheneugeneadams

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Posted in alphagraphics, digital printing, email newsletters, Marketing, mesa, phoenix, Printing, search engine optimization, SEO, small business, social media, tempe | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

The AlphaGraphics Shameless Keyword Plug

One of the valuable lessons of SEO (search engine optimization) is that a business blog needs to have links back to its main website using anchor text. I have had a lot of problems doing this since I started this blog in December, 2009.  I have used this blog to show that AlphaGraphics has marketing expertise in addition our normal printing and copying expertise.  However, our current website designed by the AlphaGraphics corporate people has very little marketing expertise elements included. If you look at one of my centers’ websites you will see our expertise in printing, copying, bindery, mailing services, graphic design and large format (signs) is well displayed. The only discussion in the marketing area is a couple of pages on 1-to-1 personalized marketing and the use of purl’s (personalized url’s)

Here Comes the Shameless Part

The holy grail of keywords that I want my centers’ websites to rank highly for are: printing mesa az, printing tempe az and printing phoenix az. Its hard to write a blog on marketing services and use these anchor text words in the middle of sentences. Believe it or not, we do rank highly for such words as: business cards mesa az, business cards tempe az and business cards phoenix az. Unfortunately, business cards are not a high profit area of our business. We even rank highly for blueprints mesa az, blueprints tempe az and blueprints phoenix az. So much so that we out-rank a lot of dedicated blueprint houses in the Phoenix market.

Piling On

What would some of the other keywords I would like to emphasize? Well how about mailing services mesa az, mailing services tempe az and mailing services phoenix az? Another hard term to rank for is: direct marketing mesa az, direct marketing tempe az and or course, direct marketing phoenix az. Over the last couple of months, I have seen that our rankings for; marketing mesa az, marketing tempe az and marketing phoenix az has improved significantly.

So there you have it, a shameless show of stuffing a blog full of anchor text keywords linked back to our center websites. Next week, I will be back to trying to write my blog posts with good information on marketing and other relevant information.

You can always contact us at the following AlphaGraphics websites:

AlphaGraphics Mesa Printing and Marketing FaceBook Fan Page
AlphaGraphics Tempe Printing and Marketing FaceBook Fan Page
AlphaGraphics Phoenix Printing and Marketing FaceBook Fan Page

Twitter: @steveadams291
LinkedIn: stepheneugeneadams

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Posted in alphagraphics, bindery, business cards, copies, digital printing, direct mail, graphic design, Marketing, mesa, phoenix, Printing, purls, search engine optimization, SEO, tempe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments