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    Lessons in Transforming an Organization

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    The Backdrop

    During my first 20 years at the helm of Perfect Printing, the solution to running a successful business was relatively simple; provide a quality product, in a timely manner, with great customer service. Little self-promotion was required. For a 50-year period, beginning with the coming to age of television, there were four primary ways for businesses to reach their audience. Word of Mouth, Broadcast Media (TV, Radio), Print Advertising (Newspapers, Magazines), and Direct Mail. The latter two methods involved putting ink on paper. By following the business formula outlined above, success through referrals was obtainable for most every printing company.

    With the growth of electronic media, it became apparent to me early on that how organizations communicated to and with their audience was going to change. While I anticipated some change within my industry, there were two factors that changed the industry at a pace that few could have predicted. One was how quickly the change occurred in electronic media, the second was the Great Recession of 2008, and how this downturn would further disrupt an unsettled marketing and communications industry.

    The transformation of Perfect has certainly provided us with some challenges that are unique to the print industry. There are few industries that have had to cope with pace of technological change coupled with a significant change in how their product was utilized. Staffing requirements, establishing credibility in a new market and using financial resources in the most effective way, while maintaining our core values, are just some of the challenges faced. These solutions have been used by many organizations, both large and small, to change the direction of their companies as well.

    Setting the Pace

    One characteristic of successfully transformed companies is how they handle disruptive technology. Rather than stay put, successful organizations take risk in making change. In 2012, Netflix decided it was at a crossroads with their business model of providing DVD and CD’s to clients on a rental basis. Realizing that this business model was doomed because of the rapid growth of cloud content from competitors such as HBO Go and Hulu, Netflix made a decision to separate their DVD and streaming customers. Additionally, Netflix felt that they would have to gain greater control “upstream” of what their customers wanted. This led to the decision to launch exclusive content with the production of shows like Arrested Development. After having lost 800,000 subscribers just prior to separating the DVD and CD business, Netflix has added back 610,000 subscribers as of January 2013 and increased revenue by 47%.

    Another characteristic that is common among companies that have transformed themselves is their ability to invest in joomla_4eloping new capabilities in order to jump to the next capabilities curve. The leaders of these organizations realize that distinctiveness in capabilities is fleeting. There was a period when investment in technology gave Perfect a huge advantage over our competitors in regards to the ability to turn a job quickly. This advantage has significantly narrowed over time as others have invested in the same technology. To minimize this loss of advantage, I focused our investments on widening our array of services to create a new advantage against our competition.

    Amazon is a company that also recognized that they would constantly need to joomla_4elop new capabilities in order for it to thrive. Amazon initially started out with the goal of being the world’s biggest store of printed books. Founder Jeff Bezos felt that the ability to offer a wider selection would set his store apart from their brick and mortar counterparts. While achieving success in this area, Bezos realized the need to diversify and grow further. Amazon did this by expanding as distributor of products far beyond books. Most recently, when Amazon realized that the massive computer power it maintained to run its sites was underutilized, it began selling cloud services to other businesses.

    Adopting the Mentality

    Lest anyone thinks that the transformation of a business model can only be utilized by medium to large businesses the principles can be applied to small businesses as well. After 9/11, an individual named Mitchell York was laid off from his job. He decided to go out on his own. Initially he purchased a Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees franchise . His initial business model of a mobile franchise where he would visit different events had him working long hours and dealing with the hassle of hiring a part-time untrained workforce. This created more headaches that he was not prepared for. Deciding he needed to do something different, he reinvented the company to cater to private college and corporate events. His secret to innovating his company? Always looking for new ways to be of service and value to his clients.

    Successful leaders recognize that change and transformation in any company, while at times challenging and difficult, represent opportunities to grow and become a better, more profitable organization. For those willing to embrace disruptive technologies, look for new products and services of value to their clients, and continually improve the level of service in delivering their product, the organization should increase profitability and thrive in any market.

    To learn more about NetFlix and Maui Wowi see below:


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    Joe Olivo Shares His Thoughts On the Perfect Name Change

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    Perfect Printing has been in the printing business for 35 years. What prompted you to make the change to become a full-service communications and marketing provider?

    For the last 30 years our business has grown through a combination of outside sales and referrals. However, as the role of digital communications has changed, so has the role of print. Since print is now one of several communication channels our clients use we needed to find a way to interact with our clients differently. In the early days we focused on a direct sales model that was transactional in nature. I realized that we really needed to be constantly interacting with both prospects and clients so we can connect with them on a deeper level. After some analysis, I began to see that many of our clients had the same need—to effectively reach their customers to help meet their business objectives. I understood that our clients could benefit from the same communication strategies we were using to drive our own business.

    How is what Perfect is doing different from other printers who say they are marketing service providers?

    What differentiates Perfect from other printers positioning themselves as “marketing service providers” is our focus on strategy. We want to help clients joomla_4elop the strategy that needs to be behind any good communications effort. Most printers focus solely on tools they can provide. For example, many printers say they can create personalized urls or QR codes. It is great to be able to do that, but without a comprehensive strategy uniting the tools and approaches, the effectiveness of any campaign will be limited. Just using various tools without a well-crafted strategy will not increase ROI.

    Have you added employees to provide the additional services you are offering?

    Yes, we have added new employees and expanded the responsibilities of some of our existing employees who had expertise in the marketing arena.

    Our most prominent new hire was Brian Riggs, our Vice President of Creative Strategies. Brian’s understanding of how companies can build a community around their brand is vital to the process we have created. He is really driving a lot of the strategic interaction we are having with our clients.

    Sue Rowe, our Director of Marketing, and Chris Buoni, our Vice President of Account Development, are two existing employees who are blending their knowledge of the Perfect culture with their knowledge of marketing to bring special value to our clients. Sue is bringing her background in marketing to the plans and campaigns we are joomla_4eloping. Chris is bringing his unique print experience and respect for good design to the strategic discussions we’re having with clients.   

    We anticipate adding personnel such as market analysts, researchers, content joomla_4elopers and graphic designers as we grow.


    Why did you decide to change the name of the company?

    The decision to change the company name was made only after significant consideration. Having the word “Printing” in our name doesn’t allow our brand to communicate all that we can do for our clients now. There is so much goodwill and brand recognition associated with “Perfect” though that I felt it was important to keep it. During the early stages of planning this new endeavor we discussed branding the communications and marketing effort as a separate entity, like an agency, with a different name. But because the principles and culture we’ve joomla_4eloped during the past 30 years would be applied to this new aspect of our business, and because our community is connected to our name, I felt that Perfect was the “perfect” fit to move forward.

    What services will Perfect offer?

    Perfect will offer clients a comprehensive solution to solve their business challenges through better communication. We are a true communications solution, with all of the necessary tools and talent available through one provider. Yes, we are providing graphic and web design, direct mail, social media, content curation and other services you’d expect from a communications partner. But what we are priding ourselves on is our ability to deliver strategic planning to implement these tools in a way that will achieve the best ROI for our clients. Our focus is on the process we have in place to help our clients create a roadmap to implement and execute their strategy. 

    As a manufacturer, what makes you believe you have the expertise to offer these additional services?

    One of my mottos is “we walk the walk.” In many ways, much of what we are offering our clients now is the same as we have been doing at Perfect, for Perfect. Our goal is to apply everything we have learned as we’ve implemented a comprehensive marketing plan for our own company to the work we are doing for our clients. 

    How long do you see this transition taking?

    I think of our evolution as perpetual. I don’t think anyone knows for sure what the marketing arena will look like five years from now. When you are transitioning your brand within an environment that is in constant transition itself, you should be prepared to embrace change on an ongoing basis. Our goal is to continue to evolve as our clients and the market dictate.

    How, if at all, will this change impact your current operations, including staff?

    This change will not impact the way we’ve been providing print services to our clients. That will continue as our customers have come to rely on and expect. I believe this transition will be a positive one for all of our employees though. As an owner, one of my goals is to provide my employees as much opportunity for professional growth as possible. Many of our employees will be exposed to new things that can enhance their professional skills and experience as we move forward. Becoming a comprehensive solution for our clients makes us a more valuable and attractive partner, and that is good for all of us at Perfect long term.  

    What are you most excited about?

    I am most excited about offering our clients a solution that I have tested and witnessed myself. What we’ve done so far has worked for Perfect. I believe it will really work for our clients too. It will help them better their organizations. One thing that drives me as an entrepreneur is finding a solution to a problem. Our strategic communication process does just that. I can’t wait to see more of our clients take advantage of it.

    How do you see this helping local and regional companies?

    While I think the communication processes and strategies we have put in place can benefit any organization, I think some of the best value we can provide is to local companies. Our leadership team has local roots, Perfect has been a successful part of the regional business environment for years, and we understand the challenges local companies face because of our similarity to them. We can help bring a local perspective to any campaign focused in the Greater Philadelphia and mid-Atlantic region.

    It’s no joke, Perfect Printing has a new name!

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    Effective April 1, Moorestown-based Perfect Printing is changing its name to Perfect to reflect the company’s new focus on providing clients comprehensive strategic communication solutions. A successful regional printing company for the past 30 years, Perfect has expanded its services to meet the demands of the changing communications landscape. Working under its tagline, We Create Communication, Perfect is now a full-service communications company with capabilities across all media—print, digital, social and broadcast.

    Perfect will provide its integrated communications services from its Moorestown headquarters, where it continues to house the high-quality printing operations its clients have come to rely on. Perfect is offering strategy Development, creative services, web Development, content management, social media campaigns, branding and other marketing capabilities. The company has added key staff and redeployed existing staff to position itself to deliver complete communication solutions.

    “In 1979, my parents Charlie and Ann installed a small printing press in the garage of our home as a way to supplement our family’s income,” said Joe Olivo, President of family-owned Perfect. “Over the last 35 years, my parents’ modest venture has turned into something far bigger. Recognizing that businesses today communicate through multiple media channels, our new mission is to help clients reach their business goals through thoughtful and well-crafted strategic communications, no matter the channel.”

    Perfect is providing its comprehensive communication services to regional businesses. Having local roots, Perfect’s leadership is intimately familiar with the challenges Philadelphia-area companies face in growing their business. “We will offer clients a comprehensive solution to solve their business challenges through better communication,” Olivo said. “We are a true communications company now, with all of the necessary tools and talent available under one roof.”

    List Hygiene and Direct Mail

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    There are several ways to maintain accurate lists:

    CASS Certification
    This is a process that enables the USPS to evaluate the accuracy of an address with address matching and correction software. Your mail house should have this software and run your lists through the CASS certified software. This not only improves accuracy but also qualifies the mailer for postal discounts.

    Delete Duplicates
    Duplicate records can be removed from a mail list to help bring down postage costs. Dupes can be removed at the address level (one mail piece to a single address), the individual level (one mail piece to each individual at an address), or variations of the two (one mail piece to each person with a different last name at an address, for example).

    The NCOA process updates a mail list with the most current address change information available to the USPS. When an individual or business moves to a new location and files a form with the USPS, that information is stored in a database which mail lists are then matched against. If a match is found the new address information is replaced with the old. It is possible also that a move has been filed but no forwarding address is available. In this case the USPS requires that record be removed from the mailing. All matches can be stored to a separate file and sent to the customer to update their database for future mailings.

    Return Service Requested

    Return Service Requested can be printed on the envelope. This marking on a mail envelope that indicates to the postal service how to handle the mail piece if it is undeliverable as addressed. The mail piece is returned to the sender with the new address or the reason for non-delivery and their database can be updated.

    Invite customers to update their information
    Customers can be encouraged to provide updates by including an option on reply joomla_4ices for change of address.

    Questions on mailing or mail lists? Please contact Joe Monchek at

    Direct Marketing Best Practices Revisited – Part 2

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    The great thing about the rule is that it has withstood the test of time. The rule however is facing its greatest challenge since being created by Mayer in the 1960’s. The emergence of the social economy has changed the way we receive and process information. We are literally assaulted with tens of thousands of messages daily. Without powerful creative, will your message have a chance of being noticed, regardless of your data? And if your message isn't noticed, how will your offer being received?

    I asked two industry veterans for their response to the question “do you think the rule of 40-40-20 still applies today or has creative grown in importance?” Their answers were interesting:

    Brian Courtney, Freelance Copywriter:
    “I think that creative has grown in importance because attention spans are shorter and there are more messages competing for that reduced attention time. We no longer have the luxury of a "gestational period" where the recipient will read the direct mail, then mull the concept until they have that light bulb "ah ha!" moment of understanding. If the creative is too abstract or obtuse, it will be immediately passed over. Today's concepts must yield instant recognition and message delivery – and yet still be creative. That's hard to do and it's the reason why so many otherwise good offers fail.”

    Allan Espiritu, Designer:
    “30-30-40 is more like it! As consumers, we are bombarded with a constant flow of information and media. The aesthetic design and execution, speaks loudly in a sea of flashing visuals and messages. More than ever, design plays an important role in getting your message to your audience. But only good design does that. You need creative work that thinks outside the box—design the re-contextualizes and reimages how to use traditional and foundational design elements. Consumers are smarter and are always constant motion, so only visuals that impress, challenge, or even slow them down will get their attention.”

    From my viewpoint as a marketer, while the platforms available to target customers have grown dramatically over the last decade, these advancements have simply changed the way we target, the way we make offers and the way we design our creative. We still must go after a clearly defined target with a compelling offer that is presented in a precise, accurate and timely manner. I know some of my peers would disagree and argue that the 40/40/20 rule was created when direct marketing was a primary means of reaching customers and there was not all this other “noise” competing for consumer’s attention. While this is true, I would challenge them that even with today’s integrated campaigns, data (list) can make or break a campaign and messaging (offer) must be compelling. The creative component is the piece that takes on more weight in order to cut through the clutter. But it’s not a question of either/or. The percentages may vary from the original intent of the rule but all three all important to be successful.

    The topic will continue to be debated as technologies and platforms continue to evolve and emerge. What is your perspective?  Email me at

    A Creative and Noble Use of QR Codes

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    According to the report, it seems that someone has been stamping the Chinese currency, the Yuan, with a QR code. The bills then become scattered throughout Chinese society. For those that scan the code, it takes them to files that are stored on the cloud through Amazon services. By accessing the link users are able to access parts of the internet that are blocked by the Chinese government-built firewall. Because the link is through Amazon’s cloud, the only way that Chinese authorities would be able to block access to the sites would be by shutting down access to Amazons’ website. This would have significant political repercussions both domestically and internationally. Chinese users that have accessed the link have commented how they can now see the whole word through sites like You Tube.

    Centuries ago the Chinese built a great wall to keep invaders out of their country. This wall has stood the test of time. Today, the great firewall they have built in order to prevent an “information invasion” is being breached by a creative integration of print and electronic media.

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    USPS Postage Increase Effective 1/26/14

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    Summary of the 2014 USPS postage rate increase:

    • First Class Letters (1 oz.) will increase by three cents to $0.49 from $0.46. Each additional ounce will cost an extra $0.21 (up one cent from 2013).
    • NEW! The USPS has introduced a new First Class letter rate for the "Metered Mail" category, which includes online postage providers and postage meters. This new rate would be $0.48, one cent below the retail rate of $0.49 for First Class Letters.
    • First Class Flats (1 oz.) will increase by six cents to $0.98 from $0.92. Each additional ounce will cost an extra $0.21 (up one cent from 2013).
    • Postcard rates will increase by one cent to $0.34 from $0.33.
    • Presorted Standard letters will increase to $0.30 from $0.28.
    • Non-profits letters will increase from to $0.18 from $0.17 with non-profit flats increasing to $0.40 from $0.36.


    For questions, please contact Joe Monchek, Perfect Printing Mailing Operations Manager at


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    Top 10 Direct Marketing Best Practices Revisited (Part 1)

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    1) List: For direct marketing, your list is not just a way to reach your market, it is your market. The list is possibly the single most important element to an effective direct mail effort. So it’s important to ensure your list is as accurate as possible. How was the list obtained? Is it a house list, compiled list or a direct response list (people who purchased or gave to a cause previously)? What do you know about the people on the list (demographics or buying behavior for example)? For business to business lists, it may be worth the resources to review each record against LinkedIn to check current position, title, etc. for accuracy. Also, consider running the list through an Address Verification System, such as CASS Certification, for further cleansing.

    2) Offer: The offer is also a critical element to a successful direct mail effort. An offer is what gets the reader to respond to your communication. Are you selling the offer? Is it relevant, specific and time sensitive. According to marketing guru Ed Mayer, the 40/40/20 rule of direct marketing is that 40 percent of your direct marketing success is dependent on your list, another 40 percent is dependent on your offer, and the last 20 percent is reserved for everything else, including how the material is presented.

    3) Format: (headline, opening and offer preview): The format of the direct mail piece can also impact response. Which works better – a letter mailer or a self mailer? The answer is it depends. Each format has certain advantages therefore different formats should really be tested.

    4) Call to action: Most direct mail pieces are not purely informational. Recipients are being asked to take action. Evaluate if there is a strong “ask”. In most fundraising letters, the “ask” should be positioned in the introductory paragraph.

    5) PS: Is the call to action and key benefit repeated in the post script? After the headline and first sentence, this is the most important part of the letter. According to, when people receive personal letters they read the salutation first and the P.S. next. Therefore, your P.S. should include your most attractive benefit, your invitation to action, or anything that inspires a feeling of urgency.

    6) Response Vehicle: Along with a strong call to action a response mechanism is needed. Is a written response joomla_4ice included? Are there other options to be considered such as a call bank ,URL, SMS, Twitter or other digital channel? For example, 2% of charitable giving was through a social media networking site (

    7) Envelope: The advantage of a closed-face envelope is that it looks like real personal or business mail. The advantage of the window envelope is that the recipient’s name and address can be imprinted or affixed to the reply element, which is positioned so that they show through the window – eliminating the need for the customer to write in his own name and address. According to, results can vary. The only sure way to know which will work better for your business is to test. Consideration should also be given to ROI; does the increase in response outweigh the additional cost?

    8) Postage: While adding a first stamp postage stamp is not possible for ever budget, the cost benefit should be evaluated. Research confirms that mail with a stamp has a higher open rate than mail with a permit or meter imprint (

    9) Personalization: Is data being used to personalize the creative and copy? It’s been proven time and time again that personalized pieces have higher response rates than static direct marketing. The degree of personalization is a variable that can be tested.

    10) Test/Test/Test: Lastly, what variables are being testing against your control piece? How are they being measured? Never assume you know what will work.

    In Part 2 of this series, I will address whether the 40/40/20 rule as it relates to the impact of creative has withstood the test of time. In the meantime, we are interested in your findings. Please feel free to share them with me at

    What’s Your Sign?

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    However, when designing effective signage, particularly for a retail environment, the following must be considered:

    Understand the audience: As with most communication vehicles, identifying the target market, their needs and your unique ability to address those needs is the first step is designing visuals and messages. The challenge with signage is the limited space to communicate your message. So messaging on signage must really hit the mark when speaking to the needs of the customer.

    Think about shoppers in a retail environment. There are many distractions in the store including their cell phone, children, etc. Retail signage must cut through clutter and make the information needed easily accessible.

    Keep it visible and legible: Less really is more. By keeping your message short, your sign is easier to see and read at a glance. Visibility is the most important part of your signage. The use of color (type, background and foreground), fonts and images should also be selected to improve visibility. Red is an effective color in signage.

    Keep it simple: Successful signage communicates a message concisely. The message should be conveyed in as few words as possible to your target audience.

    Placement is critical: Understanding traffic patterns of your target audience needs to be researched. The most effective sign is of no use if your target doesn’t see it.

    Do you have any additional tips on how to create effective signage? Let us know at

    Learn more about our Wide Format and Specialty Imaging Capabilities for environmental and retail signage at