Thursday, June 24, 2010

Printing With and On Your Food

If you are familiar with this blog, then you know that I often try to compare cooking and printing techniques.  I compare the two because most people understand cooking and food basics but not so much with printing.

On the surface, cooking and printing have nothing to do with each other.  However, despite these differences, there are many instances that utilize food directly in print and vice versa.  This blog post is dedicated to exploring a few of those times where the concept of food and print work together.

  • Chocolate Graphics ( prints on food by embossing photographic images onto chocolate with chocolate.  This embossing technology simultaneously allows them to produce 3 dimensional images with chocolate as well.
  • Cantu Designs ( meld food with science, technology and art to create a new type of futuristic culinary experience.   Chef Cantu has created a number of print and food related technologies such as edible paper and desktop printers where the print cartridges are filled with food-based inks that include foods such as carrots, tomatoes and potatoes.
  • AIB (American Institute of Baking) and FDA help certify and ensure food packaging and labeling compliance on your every day print items you find in your grocery store.  They help printers follow guidelines on food grade printing ink requirements.
  • Soy-based inks are non petroleum-based inks that are created with vegetable oils.  These inks are often the choice for environmentally conscience customers as they emit considerably less VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and are biodegradable.
  • Edible rice paper is often used in cake designs to transfer a photo quality image on the outside of frosting.  A designer can draw and color designs on the paper or even run the sheet through a food safe edible ink printer to achieve more detail.

Perhaps printed materials that you can eat will be the biggest opportunity for printing to stay relevant in a digital world.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Why Direct Mail? Part 2 of 2

Trust in Advertising - Printing and Marketing Trends

It is no secret that people trust advertisers less and less every year.  We’d rather hear the opinion of a friend or go online to see what other people are saying about a product.  This has caused an increase in grass root marketing efforts as well as the need to communicate through social media.  Traditional advertising, including print, is on the decline.

Despite the change in the advertising landscape, there is still a place for print in advertising that offers the highest ROI opportunity.  That opportunity is with direct mail.  Internet advertising will continue to grow but the information overload that online advertising brings to consumers will help direct mail break through the clutter.   In the coming years, print stands to become one of the least intrusive forms of advertising available to marketers.

Print can do things that the internet can not do, and the trends don’t lie.  According to a 2008 DMNews/Pitney Bowes Direct Mail Survey, the follow results suggest print is here to stay:
  • 78% identify direct mail as the preferred method for receiving promotional materials (63% Email, 52% Newspaper Inserts, 34% Websites).
  • 37% said they used a new business for the first time because of something they received in the mail.
  • 68% said they renewed business relationships in response to information they receive by direct mail.

Print is also reviewed more than online advertising such as email.  85% of households say they either read or scan direct mail (2007 USPS Household Diary Study).  Data for email varies by industry but experts suggest a 15-25% average email open rate and a 6% average click through rate if the advertiser is known.

A more recent study (2009 Exact Target’s Channel Preference Study of 1500 internet users) shows that
76% made a purchase after receiving direct mail (67% TV, 58% email, 17% phone marketing). 

The trends don’t lie, consumers still trust print.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why Direct Mail? Part 1 of 2

Why use direct mail?  Isn’t this form of advertising going extinct?  With the world becoming more digitized every day, one might think so.  However, every month you receive direct mail from the same companies over and over again.  Banks and insurance companies constantly flood your mailbox.  Do you think these companies would keep repeatedly sending the same offer in the mail if they weren’t seeing results?  Would you continue to do something in your own business if it wasn’t working?

The fact is that direct mail works and is growing in popularity as marketers seek out a means to speak to consumers on a one-to-one level.  The ability to send a targeted message to the right person is a powerful thing.

Direct mail is here to stay but if you need proof as to why you should join this movement, consider the following evidence:

  • Mail is measurable.  You can track the cost per response.
  • Mail is real.  In a digitized world, mail enables your senses to physically interact with a marketing message.
  • Mail is personal.  How would you send a birthday card, love letter or thank you note to someone you care about?
  • Mail speaks to you.  Your name is on the mail, with your address and your specific message that the marketer knows is relevant to you.
  • Mail benefits from technology.  Advances in data mining allow you to send a tailored message to a specific demographic and audience.
  • Mail reinforces brand loyalty.  When you receive mail from a brand that you already trust, the mail is received more positively.  In addition, mail complements and integrates well with other forms of advertising such as TV, email, radio and a website.
  • Google mails.  The largest internet company in the world uses direct mail to advertise.
  • Mail stands out.  The average consumer receives 45 emails for every one piece of direct mail.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Emerge Conference

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Emerge conference with a customer I work with. Emerge is a 2-day event covering the latest in print innovation and technology. Held in San Antonio, Emerge 2010 attracted over 750 print suppliers, customers and Consolidated Graphics (NYSE:CGX) leaders who collaborated to propel the industry forward.

As an employee of Consolidated Graphics, this conference made me proud of the printing company I get to work for every day. Not only did the conference aim to bring customers together with their printers by educating on marketing and print related topics from industry leaders, it also provided an environment where I was able to collaborate one-on-one with my customer to see how we could begin applying many of the topics discussed.

There was a downside.  I was limited to bringing only one customer with me. Because of this I have posted the above video to give you a brief overview of Emerge. Over time I hope to share with all Print Chef followers, the knowledge that I gained at the terrific event.

In addition to the informative breakouts my customer and I attended, I was also very impressed with how our large format printing and other specialty print items were applied and on full display throughout the hotel. Check out the pictures below to give you an idea of how we turned the Marriott into hotel Emerge!