Thought Leadership

    The $1,000 Business Card

    1024 504 admin

    During the 1800’s, cards were utilized by the servants of aristocrats and royalty as a way to announce the arrival of their owners.  Around the same time merchants began distributing “trade cards” to current and prospective clients that included maps, advertisements and invoice amounts. The modern day business card was officially born. While the printing format and method of distribution varies by culture, the business card serves the singular purpose of being part of the initial introduction between business contacts.

    When giving a plant tour for a visitor, I explain our varied print capabilities to them. One of the things that often surprise them is not only that we print business cards, but the amount of money that some people are willing to pay for business cards. With good creative design and the utilization of different finishing techniques, the final bill for a business card can easily range from $500 to $1000. This can come as quite a shock to those that have utilized some of the online printing companies that offer business cards for as low as $9.95. Why would someone want to pay 100 times that amount for a business card when they can get one online?

    When meeting someone for the first time, it is often said that you have seven seconds to make a first impression. What better way to make that impression than by presenting a business card that stands out from all others?  With people receiving hundreds of media touches on a given day, it is easy for the business card exchange to become just one more touch that is quickly forgotten. By using a business card that truly stands out from the rest, you can increase the chance of being recognized, and make that first impression a truly memorable one.

    One of cultural differences that truly impresses me is how a business card exchange is handled in Asian countries, most specifically in Japan. The giving of a business card in this area of the world has great significance. To appear at a business event in this part of the world without a business card is akin to entering a meeting in the US without shaking hands. Cards should be kept in a decorative case and should be presented with both hands holding the corners. The recipient should acknowledge and is expected to offer some sort of compliment regarding the card. In addition, you should never just stick the card in your pocket.

    Take a look at your current business card and imagine being the person that would be receiving it. What message does the card convey? Is it memorable or remarkable in any way? If not, now may be the time to think about a new design.


    Planes, Trains and Print?

    1024 504 admin

    Normally, I base my travel modes on speed and convenience. I want to get from point A to point B the fastest way possible with the least hassle, right? So, I always travel by plane. Well not necessarily. Of course a plane is faster than a car, but it isn't always the best way to reach a destination. Also, there are various reasons for travel. Perhaps I want to take in scenery, or shed a few summer indulgences. Then I may pedal or even walk my way to my next destination.

    Now apply the same mode of thinking to your communication choices. Before you set off to reach your destination (audience), the first question that must be answered is, where are you going (where are they located)? Are you meeting someone (are they searching for similar goods and services to yours)? What's your reason for going there (what are your strategic goals)?

    Sometimes when I hand someone a business card, I see that look on their face that suggests, “Perfect Printing? People still sell print? I guess this poor guy hasn't heard about the internet.” I'm not about to jump to the defense of print. It is a powerful communication tool and doesn't need my defense, even though it is no longer the first thing most people think about when it comes to communication. It does, however have its place in any direct marketer's communication strategy. Or at least it should.

    Did you know there are still some parts of the world where horseback is the best mode of travel to reach your destination (audience)? Of course, before I saddle up, I'm going to explore other options and will probably have already walked, driven, flown, taxied or trained to reach the final leg of the trip.

    In the same way, if I need to reach an audience, I'll certainly have a website. Now, how will I get them there and then what? Email? Phone? Print? What about in-store and social? After all, my audience still occupies real space and their decision making process is often unique. If you want to have the broadest reach with the most impact, then you'll need a plan that moves you and your audience to the same location. To do that, you will need to reach them where they live, eat and where their emotional impulses cause them to decide for or against a product or service.

    Food for thought before you take your next stroll.

    Brian Riggs

    Brian Riggs Joins Perfect Printing Team

    600 400 admin

    "I am excited to join the Perfect team", said Riggs, "because of the opportunity it provides for both personal and professional growth. On the one hand, the corporate culture at Perfect provides an atmosphere that fuels both creativity and innovation while maintaining a value system and a close knit team. On the other, the company’s commitment to growth, to technology, and to its mission to help its clients solve their business needs provide me with the drive to always move forward. It’s really a unique place."

    Brian is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and also holds an MA in History from Rutgers University, Camden Campus. Following the completion of his Masters degree, Brian worked for the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he spent several years as the research and exhibits manager. He later went on to pursue a career in sales in business Development. Brian’s first foray into sales, marketing and business Development was with Evesham Mortgage in Marlton, New Jersey. He then joined Association Headquarters, Inc., in Mount Laurel where he quickly became an integral part of the company’s growth, having achieved the title of Vice President of Business Development. 

    Brian resides in Mickelton, New Jersey with his wife and two daughters, Payton (8) and Jordyn (6). His hobbies include cycling, reading, writing (blogs include Head Above Water ( and Enter Change (, and spending time with his family. Brian coaches both youth soccer and basketball for his children. He is an advocate for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and childhood cancer research and serves on the committee for the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer in order to raise awareness.

    Brian can be contacted at or (856) 924-7517.

    Perfect Is Social

    1024 504 admin

    The experienced marketer knows that the first phase in any communications plan is to identify their target and then determine the best way to reach them. As we all know the tools available to marketers have grown exponentially with the growth of digital media. Integrating all these tools and reaching people where and when they want to be reached is crucial to marketing success.

    Don’t get me wrong even in the digital age print is an essential piece in the marketing mix. Consider the following:

    • 76% of small businesses state that their ideal marketing mix is a combination of print and digital communications
    • 40% of consumers say that they have tried a new business after receiving direct mail
    • 73% of consumers prefer mail for receiving new product announcements.

    What social marketing allows us to do in a truly unique way is build relationships with our customer’s one small interaction at a time. These connections must be purposeful, relevant and continuous. Over time, trust in a company or brand forms. And after all, aren’t people more likely to buy from companies or people that they have a relationship? Social media also enables companies to engage employees and share our corporate culture. Posting pictures of company meeting, luncheons and people just doing their job involves employees and communicate a sense of teamwork. It also humanizes a brand and gives it a face.

    So, we are social. Are you? If so, like on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @p_printing.
    To read more statistics about print effectiveness in the modern media mix go to

    The Changing Face and Pace of University Communications

    1024 504 admin

    What is your biggest challenge in communicating to your target audiences (students)? The biggest challenge we face is similar to other universities and for-profit companies – getting our constituents to read what we are sending! Another challenge is keeping up with the way that students wish to receive their information (print vs. digital, and even further – email versus other ways like text, social, Google ads, video, etc.)

    How have the tools you used to reach your target changed over time? Or, do you use different tools to reach different groups/segments/students?  We use different tools for different audiences more and more. We are still in the process of finding the balance between print and digital, and then incorporating social for not only students, but also parents and counselors.

    As a communications professional, where do you see the whole “Content is King” movement headed? Is it quantity over quality or should organizations focus more on context rather than an increase in content? I am always a firm believer in quality over quantity. If your information isn’t useful to the reader don’t bother. Content is, and will remain, king but engagement is queen.

    Does print still play a role in your communication strategy? How has its role changed? Print still plays a role, but it’s moving towards a supporting role rather than starring. I believe this shift will continue. The thing about print now is that it should be used sparingly (especially with a younger student audience), but effectively. Make it count. I also think that print and digital strategies need to coexist in harmony. All printed pieces should include an action item that can be tracked digitally.

    Where do you see communication within the university setting headed? Competition among universities is fierce, and more and more students need to see demonstrated value in coming to college, let alone coming to YOUR college. It’s very important to clearly illustrate your brand, what it stands for and what they will get out of coming to your campus. I think that digital’s role will continue to grow along with social and gamification. Tracking and metrics are also very important in order to demonstrate ROI and also in setting strategy. Being nimble is important, but a particular challenge in the university setting.

    Communications and Development Drive Back to School Business

    1024 504 admin

    Like clockwork, this time of year brings in two specific areas of work in our business; communication pieces to help incoming students get acclimated to their new environment and outreach material to drive dollars to the university.

    Universities communicate with both students and alumni on an ongoing basis. General communication materials typically are produced this time of year to engage students in the orientation and welcome process.

    What are the top 5 printed items universities are using in their communication materials?

    • Safety Booklets
    • Athletics Posters
    • Campus Maps
    • Welcome Kits
    • Coupons

    University Development offices are also using print as they implement their outreach campaigns to students and alumni. A dialogue is created that continues throughout the year. joomla_4eloping and mailing variable data letters, invitations to events, postcards and printed requests for information updates are all print vehicles to start the conversation with potential donors. When choosing the most effective way to reach students and alumni, all channels should be considered. Mobile, social and email can be effective. However, it can be easy for students to tune out email and other forms of digital communication so print may be the best approach for newcomers. Print is still the one tangible medium that occupies physical space and as freshman find their new space, and returning students redefine their space, feeling connected to the university becomes ever so important. After all, when was the last time you walked in a dorm room and saw an email decorating the wall?

    Parents Prefer Print Advertising for Back-to-School Shopping

    1024 504 admin

    On this topic, I read an article recently that a majority of back to school shoppers preferred print and direct mail for back to school promotions.  Now as a marketer for a print communication company, this statistic didn't necessarily surprise me because we often see an uptick in business during this time of year.  However, what I did find interesting was that it was published in Mobile Marketing Daily, an online resource that covers mobile marketing trends.The conclusion reached by author was that the resilience of print, both in print ads and in direct mail, strongly suggests the importance of cross-platform marketing plans for retailers and in this case “a resounding confirmation of the enduring power of print.”

    According the article, when more than 12,000 U.S study participants (all smartphone users with at last one child) were asked which ways they prefer to receive back-to-school promotions, 46.3% said “print ads,” followed by “direct mail” (41.3%) — far ahead of social media (21.2%). This is comforting for print communication companies but it also sheds light on the need for more creative interactions with audiences. If nothing else, it supports the notion that in order to build a strong and personal brand experience for consumers, retailers will need to use an integrated communication strategy that involves multi-channel marketing. Print communications combined with online and social outreach are effective ways in reaching your audience, and not just at back-to-school and Christmas.

    To read more about the study above at:

    Are You Ready to Print?

    1024 504 admin

    During the course of our discussion, the owner suggested that perhaps they could print and mail a postcard. The requirements needed to produce this postcard perfectly matched our company’s abilities. This job could have been designed, printed & mailed within a week or two and would have counted to our sales goals for the month. Despite all of this, I did something that I have never done previously and is counter-intuitive to any owner of a printing company. I told the client we could produce the direct mailer for his company, but, in my opinion, his company was not ready to do a mailing and would gain very little from it. I recommended against producing a product that my company is perfectly setup to create.

    Before anyone suggests that I should have my head checked, there are very valid reasons that I suggested not to proceed in this manner. Many of these reasons I have discovered during our own in-house marketing process, which can serve as a case study as to the dos and don’ts of any marketing campaign. The primary reason that I did not want this client to proceed with the mailing is that I wanted him to view any campaign we put together as a success for him. Mailing a postcard without going through the process of properly identifying your target, having an integrated website to drive them to and having no integration with any other forms of media would have generated little or no response. The client would have then blamed the mailer and walked away feeling that print is not a suitable form of advertising because it is costly based on the amount of response it had generated.

    When done in isolation, the chances are that the result would be as predicted. However, when used as part of an overall campaign, print can be a valuable resource to help drive client response and play a significant role in making a successful campaign. Using a combination of the multiple channels available to reach your client (including print) will yield far greater results in the end.


    Photo credit:

    The Print Boss Meets the Cake Boss

    1024 504 admin

    Print, as with specialty cakes, are a custom made item that are produced by skilled artisans of their craft. While technology and automation have greatly improved the efficiency of how both products can be produced, the quality of the final product still depends on a experienced craftsman to produce it correctly. Good design principles are also a vital component of both products. Without proper design print is simply ink on paper, cake a mix of flour, sugar & water. Both products are often produced under tight deadlines that must be met without fail. Print for events and dated material, cakes for a wedding or birthday. Lastly, both products have lately been under, in my opinion, an unjustified attack from outside groups regarding their products. Print from “environmentalists” and bakery items from the “sugar police”.

    Beyond the similarities in our products, I was also struck by the similarity in our stories. Both of us were from second generation Italian-American families whose father, the founder of the company, had died at a young age and other family members stepped forth to fill the void. If anyone knows of any Hollywood producers looking for a reality show based on a printing communications company, they know where to reach me.