PSDA to host 2014 Distributor Solutions Expo in Chicago

Print distributors throughout the U.S. are assembling in Chicago on April 22 in an effort to build new partnerships.

Ultimately, United States commerce relies on print distributors to support the procurement of legal documents, checks, labels and other tangible paper forms, which are all necessary for businesses to complete transactions in an authoritative manner. Connecting logistics professionals with print manufacturers comes as a challenge, leading some organizations to step in to resolve the issue.

On April 23, the Print Services and Distribution Association will host the 2014 Distributor Solutions Expo at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. According to the PSDA’s website, the event will consist of product and service exhibitions, educational discussions and networking sessions. Though, the conference was held at the Navy Pier Convention Center last year, attendees had to be constantly shuttled from the Hyatt to the facility. In light of this issue, PSDA Executive Vice President Matt Sanderson noted that the hotel is now holding the Expo to make it easier for participants.

“We believe that holding the entire event at one property will further drive the power of partnership among distributors, manufacturers and suppliers, and enable our members to do more and better business together,” the organization said on its website.

The importance of fostering connections 
Sourcing printed products from a single distributor is much easier than procuring different kinds of documents from disparate vendors. The PSDA wrote that print logistics professionals need partners offering different materials. While some fabricators create integrated cards or commercial presswork, others provide supply chain experts with web-to-print, e-commerce solutions, personalization, pURLs and other industry necessities.

Without the manufacturers to provide them with such products, retailers, critical infrastructure companies, legal firms and other market players ultimately wouldn’t be able to capitalize on the services offered by print distributors. The latter contingency is often known for staying ahead of the curve – notifying their clients when new technology is available or how common business issues can be resolved. Some of the assistance these professionals provide include:

  • Comprehensive marketing and advertising initiatives, ranging from direct mail to email programs
  • Intricate forms and tags, plastic cards, as well as book and catalog production
  • E-commerce (driven by web-to-print solutions)
  • Inventory logs, pick and pack solutions
  • Transportation to multiple locations
  • A better view of inventory fulfillment
  • Critical document management and protection

Why the PSDA? 
At the end of the day, the 2014 Distributor Solutions Expo will foster the connectivity that keeps U.S. commerce at the top of its game. If communication between print manufacturers and distributors isn’t encouraged, it could result in lackluster nationwide economic performance. PSDA membership consists of an expansive network of supply chain partners representing the interests of hundreds of enterprises. The organization currently possess thousands of participants, which cumulatively account for more than $5 billion in annual sales.

About 70 percent of those members are resellers of print, marketing and related services, with the remain 30 percent representing manufacturers that sell directly to the market. As opposed to a conglomeration of broad corporations, the PSDA is composed of small, mid-sized and large businesses looking to optimize the flow of printed goods. The Association hopes the event will attract attention from companies looking to streamline their operations.

5 Ways To Build Your Brand Using Print Products

brand building with print

As we all know it’s important to remember that companies must always market their businesses, gather new clients, and maintain client relationships. This should be done with a strategic marriage of both email and print marketing.We have covered email marketing and tactics in previous blogs, so today we are focusing on print products. Below are 5 ways you can use print products to help build your brand.

  1. Make sure that all your social media information is on your print products. Include your social networking information, such as your Facebook and LinkedIn information as often as possible. The more ways people connect with your business, the better.
  2. Send marketing postcards out regularly, at least once per month. Make sure that you use different postcards each time because if people keep getting the same card they are most likely to throw it away without reading it.
  3. Put your logo on every single thing that you can. This especially holds true for trade shows.  Your logo is your brand and it’s important that people see it regularly. Have it on everything from banners, to brochures, to the swag you give away.
  4. Print out different types of business cards. In addition to traditional business cards, try incorporating magnet business cards and folded business cards. Implementing those ideas will definitely make you stand out from the rest of your competitors.
  5. Change up your look! Print a few different designs for your business cards that all fit within your brand guidelines. And also, make sure the postcards you send out look different but still represent your brand. For example, you can keep the same layout, look and feel, but then change the color scheme. This way people will still know it’s your company, but read it because they are getting something new.

What other ways do you use print products to build your brand?

Photo courtesy of flickr

4 Tips To Standout on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an excellent platform to promote your business’s content, if you do it right. For B2B businesses, LinkedIn may just be the traffic and lead booster that your company needs because it can connect you with the right decision makers without having to go through so many other people. Below are 4 tactics that will help you standout from the rest and get noticed on LinkedIn. Not only will this boost your personal presence, but help gain exposure for your company as well.

  1. Find the LinkedIn groups that are most relevant to your industry and clients. Groups are an effective and efficient means to promote your content to a segmented audience. You can tailor your promotion to people and businesses that are the most likely to download your information. Keep in mind that when you do post something, you must respond to all comments made.
  2. LinkedIn B2BUpdate your status on a regular basis. Make sure that your personal connections and your followers receive  up-t0-date information on what your company is doing. Post statuses about your industry, but also make sure to add statuses with anecdotes like awards received, excitement about articles published, upcoming events, or big news amongst your company.
  3. Find relevant content on the internet and share it with others. Let people know what your interested in. This will help spark conversations for sure! Think of this as an opportunity to add value to your network. While this may not directly bring traffic to your own website, it will keep you in people’s news feeds with relevant and high value information, so they will start seeing you as a thought leader.
  4. Add your blog to your company profile. This is a simple application that you can install on your profile so your most recent blog posts can be seen on your profile. This way, if you write a post about your new content, your connections and followers are able to see it easily. It’s a great way to start a conversation and increase traffic to your website.
If you have additional questions or need help with you social media efforts please visit the Wise website for more information. What other tips would you add to our list above?
Photo courtesy of flickr

Social Media Tips For The Print Industry

There is not only one way to do social media right. It all depends on your industry, your audience and your goals. Social media is a direct way to connect with consumers, but doing so effectively can seem intimidating to people who work in traditional printing companies. Social media marketing has the potential to attract new clients. We know how difficult this can be in the print industry in the beginning. Below are some valuable lessons that I have learned thus far that will help maximize your own efforts.

  • social media tips_WiseGive your expectations a reality check. If you work in an industry or a niche that’s not naturally exciting, don’t expect significant results right away. Always give it your best effort to create an engaging page for your audience, but don’t get too discouraged if people don’t start interacting right away.
  • Even though you are representing a corporation let people see the human side of you. When creating content, remember that you are writing for people who are looking for genuine interactions. Make sure they know there’s a real person behind the company logo that’s reaching out to them.
  • Remember your purpose. People are not getting on social media sites to be hit with promotions constantly. They want valuable information that can help improve their lives and this doesn’t always mean a discount. Create content that will be useful for your target audience. Look for ways in which you can help your network reach their goals.
  • Be consistent and persistent. Post on a regular basis and don’t give up. Many studies have shown that companies who slowly build their community have more valuable interactions than they ones who run a contest and get 1000 likes in a week. The goal is to increase engagement and build long lasting relationships with your target audience.

We hope that these thoughts will help with your social media efforts in the print industry. What other questions do you have that I can address?

Photo courtesy of flickr

Direct Mail – The Positives and Negatives

We have client ask us all the time if they should or shouldn’t use direct mail. The answer is subjective depending on their target audience and what they want to accomplish. In most cases direct mail gets seen as junk mail when there is no targeting and the messaging is general. Direct mail definitely has its advantages and disadvantages. Below are a list that will help you decide if direct mail is right for your marketing efforts:

 

Advantages of Direct Mail:

  • People are so busy with online forms of marketing that they are leaving print behind. Sending a direct mail offer can definitely set you apart from your competitors and may have a better chance of grabbing your recipient’s attention.
  • You have the room to engage the customer, create an offer and to tell them what to do next. A sales letter can be longer than just a page long.
  • People feel more comfortable when they actually have something to touch in hand. This can help win your customers trust a little quicker. direct mail
  • You can incorporate QR codes and market your social media platforms that you are active on.
  • Use can use returned mail to clean your database and ensure it is all up to date.

Disadvantages of Direct Mail:

  • Postage prices can make your mailings costly.
  • Direct mail can be viewed an not environmentally friendly, so be sure to use recycled paper and let your target audience know what you’re doing to be environmentally friendly.
  • Direct mail pieces can get lost in the mail your recipient receives and get thrown away without being seen.

As with any form of marketing there are negatives and positives. It’s best that you do detailed research and see what makes the most sense for your target audience. Do they spend most of their time online and traveling or are they in their offices the majority of the week? Are they tech savvy or not? These are the types of questions that will help you figure out what the best marketing channels are for your company.

How helpful did you find this article?

Photo courtesy of flickr

3 Social Media Lessons Printing Companies Must Learn

Printing companies can be more personal, more intimate, move faster, and be more flexible with social media. It helps them break relationship barriers from the beginning and gain their leads’ trusts quicker. Below we are going to cover 3 lessons that printing companies must learn in order to have success with social media.

  1. Your company’s business goals must dictate how your social media is going to run. You need to make sure that you have an understanding of why you are putting information out to the world because without that piece of knowledge you won’t be successful. Social media can really help your business by increasing brand awareness, building customer loyalty by engaging with your readers and providing customer service and increase sales by getting people to purchase your offerings more often. Pick one of these and focus your efforts around it. This will give you a clear idea of what needs to be done and you will be able to track your results more effectively.
  2. social media 4Understand what motivates your target audience. Don’t create content around you, your product, company or industry. Focus on what your target audience is trying to do with the products and services that you offer. Write about solutions to their problems.
  3. Make your stories shareable.Create stories, movements and campaigns that people can rally behind. By enabling other people to carry your story, you’re opening up all types of possibilities. This is a great way to gain positive exposure and increase your relationships.

What other tactics would you add to our list above?

Photo courtesy of flickr

5 Keys to Surviving This Digital World

In this digital world it seems like the technology and our society is evolving faster than we can adapt. This trend threatens rigid and traditional practices everywhere. Businesses must earn relevance and to do so requires much more than adoption of the latest technologies or launching endeavors in the latest social platform or app of the month. Businesses, who push the tenets of a social business as a matter of survival, are not competing for the moment nor are we merely competing in real-time. We’re competing for the future. To survive you need leadership and courage in your company. Below are 5 key components that will help your company survive in this changing digital world.

  1. Have a strategy in place. New strategies must focus on the alignment of objectives with meaningful experiences and outcomes. Make sure to understand new media channels and what your target audience is expecting from it before spending too much time and money on that new channel.          
  2. think aheadCreate a culture that promotes change. Companies need to focus on cultivating a culture of adaptation rooted in customer- and employee-centricity and more importantly, empowerment.
  3. Find the influencers among your target audience. Digital influence is becoming prominent in social networks, turning everyday consumers into new influencers. As a result, a new customer hierarchy is developing forcing businesses to identify and engage to those who are seen as influencers in the community. Companies must engage during decision-making cycles, when positive experiences are shared, or to provide informative information when people are doing research.
  4. Empower your employees to experiment through failure and success to improve engagement and morale. This will boost their morale and help gain exposure for your brand.
  5. Promote innovation internally. Reward employees for being able to recognize new opportunities and executing what needs to be done.  The capacity to identify and consider new solutions and responses is essential to survive. You need to make sure to have the right systems in place to access the different situations and react.

How many of these are you currently implementing at your company?

Photo courtesy of flickr

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