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Transparent Ink Looking for a subtle but powerful print effect that you can easily add to your next digitally printed piece? Try transparent ink. Using transparent ink, you can achieve a similar look to watermarking, specialty coatings, and ghosted image effects. But the best part is that it doesn’t require special printing plates or the setup time required for specialty effects on an offset press. With transparent ink, you can add a sleek and sophisticated look to brochures, invitations, postcards and more without increasing production time or cost. Here’s how we were able to set up the cover file for Tactics to ensure that the transparent ink was just what our designer envisioned. Using Adobe InDesign or Illustrator:

This is Your Brain on Paper Why Bi-Lateral Literacy is a Wake-Up Call for Marketers

VOL. 9, ISSUE 3, 2019 Shawmut Communications Group | shawmutdelivers.com

• C  reate a new layer (on top of all other layers) called Transparent. • C  reate a new spot color swatch called Transparent. It’s helpful to set this color to 30% yellow and 30% magenta so it’s easier to see on the screen. • U  se the new Transparent color on the Transparent layer and set the objects to Overprint in the Attributes panel.


We want to hear from you! We are firm believers in the motto: it takes a village. Tactics Magazine is our way of bringing together a community of marketers, designers, and print professionals to share information that everyone can learn from. For this issue, several of the designers we work with shared tips and tricks to help their peers. We know that our readers have many more tips to share. So, if you’re a graphic designer (or you know someone who is) get involved and help us gather up the Ultimate List of Graphic Design Shortcuts. Share your best stuff, follow along with us on social, and stay tuned for the Ultimate List coming soon!


Combining direct mail with digital technologies is a smart move—boosting response rates by an average of 25%.

With Shawmut MailPlus you get:

FEATURED EXPERTS Megan Behrendt Marketing Design Operations Manager, EBSCO Information Services Daniel Dejan Print and Creative Manager, Sappi etc. Maria DelRose Graphic Designer, CarGurus

Mail Tracking

Informed Delivery ®

Social Media

Predict and confirm exactly when your mail reaches each person

Generate web traffic before your mail arrives via USPS Informed Delivery emails

Increase impressions before, during and after your mailing with SocialMatch and retargeting via Facebook and Instagram

Call Tracking

Online Follow-Up


Track and report on inbound calls from every direct mail campaign

Increase conversions with online retargeting via Google Display Network

Know who visited the website from your mailing list and get new leads for your next mailing

Sandy Fuhs Program Coordinator, Graphic Design for Print & Integrated Media, NSCC, CTE & Business Division Don Lutkus Owner, Lutkus Partners Daniel Ortolaza Director of Estimating, Shawmut Communications Group Annalise Taber Creative Director, Shawmut Communications Group Joe Tartaglia Senior Designer, Brand Management, Lord Abbett

Supercharge Your Direct Mail with Shawmut MailPlus Today


Let’s Be Clear Embracing transparency is a winning strategy. Time and time again we’ve seen brands take risks in order to be more open, honest, and clear with customers— and it pays off. Panera’s “Food As it Should Be” and “The Pizza Turnaround” from Domino’s provide some great examples to follow. Domino’s Pizza launched a risky nationwide campaign to tell everyone how bad their pizza tasted, showcasing real feedback like, “the crust tastes like cardboard.” Why would they do that? To show customers that they were committed to making their product better. Panera Bread’s campaign was centered on a promise: to stop using artificial ingredients within a year. It wasn’t enough to take small steps towards cleaner food, they needed to go all-in. Today, Panera’s food is 100% clean along with a “transparent menu” that lists calories, detailed ingredients, and nutritional information for every item.

customers so they can make informed buying decisions—whether they choose your business or not. Tactics Magazine is one example of our commitment to transparency. While we produce thousands of print products per year, we know value doesn’t stem from production alone. Real value comes from the knowledge we share and the investment we make to building a community of print-enthusiasts. Inside this issue, you’ll find shortcuts from designers for designers, differences between commercial and online printers (good or bad), research that sheds light on our distracted society, and the benefits of pairing digital marketing with print. We hope that these articles continue to inform and inspire. And most importantly, we welcome your feedback to help us improve this resource—along with any others. Enjoy the issue!

These brands understand that consumers have an abundance of choice and there is a greater expectation—and demand—for transparency. To achieve transparency, brands don’t have to make a grand gesture or launch an expensive marketing campaign. It simply comes down to educating

Michael Peluso President



W  e live in a state of constant distraction which affects our ability to learn, comprehend, and retain information. This article explains how bi-lateral literacy impacts our communications.



 The demands on creative teams are at an all-time high. Our clients share some of their creative workflow best practices and time-saving tricks for Adobe Creative Suite and other design tools.



 Pairing direct mail with online marketing strategies is a smart move. With response rates for direct mail continuing to soar, marketers need to take advantage of everything digital direct mail has to offer.



 We asked Daniel Ortolaza, Shawmut’s Director of Estimating, to share the key differences between online and commercial along with VOL. 9, ISSUE print 3, 2019vendors, Shawmut 1 the pitfalls people should watch out for.

This is Your Brain on Paper Why Bi-Lateral Literacy is a Wake-Up Call for Marketers

“Over the last twenty years we have evolved to create a secondary cortex,” says Daniel Dejan, North American ETC Print & Creative Manager for Sappi who has been delving into Wolfe’s research. “Any time we open a digital device we know there is a tsunami of content awaiting us. The onslaught of tweets, posts, and emails automatically puts us in skim mode. Over time we’ve taught ourselves how to read faster, often at the expense of comprehension.” As content producers, it’s critical for marketers to understand bi-lateral literacy and the way our brains process different types of information. In addition to generating a significant portion of the content people consume on a daily basis, marketers often control content format. They decide if information should be published in print or consumed through any number of digital channels. Typically those decisions are based



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on budget, speed to market, and audience demographics—factors that steer marketers towards digital channels. But marketers are missing one of the most important considerations for deciding between content formats: how the brain processes information. Dejan and his colleagues at Sappi have made it their mission to educate brands on the cognitive differences between digital and print media. They began with the study of haptics in 2015, which states that our sense of touch influences our perception of quality and information retention. This past year, Dejan has been speaking to brands about bi-lateral literacy leveraging research from Wolfe’s book, Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. In her book, Wolfe, a Tufts University cognitive neuroscientist and child development expert,

No, this isn’t a public service announcement, but it may serve as a much-needed wake-up call for marketers. Whether we realize it or not, marketers have played a role in creating what neuroscientist Maryanne Wolfe refers to as “bi-lateral literacy.” In layman’s terms, it means our brains have developed two distinct modes—a digital brain and a reading brain.

points out key differences in the way our minds and bodies react to ink on paper and digital devices. “Our bodies react differently depending on what type of content we read,” Dejan summarizes. “Reading on paper automatically slows down our heart rate and blood pressure which creates a calming effect and more focused concentration. On the other hand, when we read on a digital device our brains automatically switch to digital mode, causing us to read for speed with little emphasis on understanding.” The development of the “digital brain” has been in process for many years but we’re now seeing the effects begin to take shape in younger generations. At a 2016 conference titled Learning in a Digital Age, Wolfe explained how this transformation has changed the way children

learn—citing that the average child shifts their attention 27 times per hour. Other studies have also looked at diminishing attention spans. We first heard about Microsoft’s study in 2000 which stated that the human attention span was on par with a goldfish at about 12 seconds. Since then, the study has been repeated a few times; first citing 8 seconds and now a mere 3–5 seconds.

Reading skills will continue on a downward spiral along with math and science, for which the US currently ranks 41st and 25th respectively. Ultimately, US corporations will be forced to seek employees from other countries with higher skill levels. So what does all this mean for marketers? Dejan says we must recognize our role in perpetuating the cycle of distraction by continuing to choose digital.

This level of distraction can pose significant threats to our ability to “Brand communicators need to take learn and create a prosperous future. bi-lateral literacy into account,” Dejan That’s why children and adults need to continues. “When we read for speed be taught about bi-lateral literacy and we have lower retention and no when to apply each reading mode. appreciation for authorship or style, Wolfe concludes that how we read which may be suitable depending on is as important as what we read. your content and purpose. The key is to design to the medium.” Another looming concern is that the United States currently ranks Do we want our customers to read 24th globally in reading according this in-depth? Is this the kind of to the Programme for International information that you can’t just skim? Student Assessment. Would a complex sale happen faster if long-form content like white “We’ve become far better at creating papers and ebooks were delivered distraction than creating incentives in print? These are some of the for learning and knowledge,” Dejan questions brands should ask before says. “The overabundance of digital determining content format. “In content and availability of technology print, people can absorb more has taught people how to be master information because their brain reacts skimmers. Over time, we’ve gone differently,” adds Dejan. “Use that to from a word-based culture to an your advantage. Opt for print when image-based one.” the message is high-value or complex in nature or as a way to complement Analysts predict that our culture of and reinforce digital messages.”  distraction will result in a skills gap. As an educator, designer, humanist, mentor and lover of all things graphic arts, Daniel Dejan has been an evangelist for the power of paper and print for the span of his career. He is the face of the etc (education-training- consulting) group at Sappi North America where he delivers etc services to Sappi’s wide range of clients.

According to Maryanne Wolfe, author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, there are cognitive and physical reactions that occur when reading on paper vs digital devices. Here’s what happens when we read on paper: • L  owering of heart-rate & blood pressure • Slowing down • Reading every word • Searching for narrative/story • R  eading for content, context and nuance • More in-depth reading • Longer mnemonic retention • Understanding content • Higher valuing of authorship • Higher valuing of brand

Here’s what happens when we read on a digital device: • I mmediately switching to new, evolved ‘digital’ synaptic cortex • Switching to skim mode • Seeking keywords, highlighted copy, links • Seeking imagery & video links • Reading for speed • Low retention rate • L  ower understanding of content • If interested, following links to more options (website, social media, print)

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Tricks of the Trade 6 Designers Share their Favorite Shortcuts

According to the 2017 O’Reilly Design Salary Survey, most graphic designers aren’t able to spend the majority of their time on design-related tasks, despite increasing demand from employers for visual content. The study, which includes responses from more than 1,000 designers across the globe, revealed that 45% of designers spend 4–8 hours per week in meetings. Other administrative tasks like project management, managing people, and client presentations keep designers from doing what they do best. So how can graphic designers find ways to streamline the creative process without sacrificing quality? We caught up with six design pros to learn their time-saving tricks. Some shared their best practices for improving the entire creative workflow and others outlined shortcuts they can’t live without for Adobe Creative Suite. Here’s what they had to say.



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Don Lutkus Owner, Lutkus Partners The way I organize my computer saves me a ton of time in the long-run. I set it up to help my future self. When a client wants a reprint or a tweak to a file I need to be able to access it quickly. So when a project is complete, I take a moment to organize the digital files. I also create an archive folder within each project and never throw a file away. As I do iterations, I save a new version and put the old file into the archive. This process has been a life-saver on more than one occasion! On a similar note, designers (especially those who freelance or operate their own agency)

should invest in storage. I use Google Drive so that all of my files are available online, plus it gives me a redundant backup (in addition to Time Machine). This also ensures that I can access files from multiple computers. That way if I’m working on a deadline and my primary computer crashes, I’ll be able to continue working on another device. For stock photography, I recommend saving every downloaded image into one folder and then to periodically review it. Depending on how each image was purchased, they could be used for multiple purposes which saves time and money.

doodled on paper will enhance creativity. If a designer starts creating on the computer, they will be limited to the tools easily accessible in the software.

Sandy Fuhs Program Coordinator, Graphic Design for Print & Integrated Media, North Shore Community College, CTE & Business Division Engage your printing company early and often during complex projects. For new projects, start with visual brainstorming and do this with a group whenever possible. Thumbnails, sitemaps, wireframes, and storyboards

Maria DelRose Graphic Designer, CarGurus If I have to pick one tip to share with other designers, it would be to know which program is best for what you are working on. Graphic designers tend to stick to the suite (Adobe Creative Suite) and I think Sketch can be really

Remember that design must be accessible for all users. When creating colorful pieces, remember that 8% of males and .5% of females have some type of color blindness. Before sharing an initial proof with a client, I test my design by passing it through a color blindness simulator like Coblis. It allows you to upload a design and test for color vision deficiency. The options simulate viewing for red-, green-, blue- or completely colorblind people. Beyond some of these creative workflow best practices, there are tons of time-saving tricks in Adobe Creative Suite that designers should know. For example, when using a Mac, I highly recommend memorizing the additional keyboard layout available when

helpful when you are designing things like landing pages or email templates. People tend to think Sketch is more for Visual UI designers, but I have found that I am much faster in Sketch than in Photoshop. Sketch helps me get things pixel perfect before passing designs over to a developer which saves everyone a lot of time. Also, by using the symbols feature in Sketch I am able to keep things consistent across many templates. That’s just a few great qualities of

the OPTION key is depressed. The layout is displayed by clicking on the Keyboard Viewer (available in the upper right menu bar). Often used glyphs (e.g. ©, ®, •, ™, ¡, ¢) are easily accessible, as well as the ability to add auxiliary glyphs/ accents directly over the next key that is typed. These glyphs include: grave accent [ ` ]; acute accent [ ´ ]; diaeresis [ ¨ ]; circumflex [ ˆ ]; and tilde [ ~ ]. Although all of these characters are available in a Glyph Panel, it is much more efficient to access them from the keyboard. In Adobe InDesign, if you often use repeating graphics or shapes with specific attributes, check out Object Styles. Object Styles include saveable settings for stroke, color, transparency, drop shadows, paragraph styles, text wrap, and more. Transparency effects for the object, fill, stroke, and text are also possible. These are huge time savers!

Sketch. So if you haven’t tapped into this program, it’s definitely worth a look.

exactly what each layer contains. If someone can’t understand your file, then you aren’t doing your job.

Joe Tartaglia Senior Designer, Brand Management, Lord Abbett Adobe Creative Suite is like a tool belt and not everyone uses it the same way. That being said, file organization is something every designer needs to pay attention to. Layers are your organization hierarchy and you need to use them effectively. Don’t just allow the application to number the layer. Take the time to name layers appropriately so if someone else picks up your file they’ll know

Megan Behrendt Marketing Design Operations Manager, EBSCO Information Services



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When you’re at the beginning stages of a project, a mock-up can be very valuable and they’re easy to produce in Photoshop from a hand-drawn sketch. Let’s say I have a line illustration or a sketch that I want to recreate. I’ll scan the physical piece and bring it into Photoshop to create a new file. Then if I want to show a client what it will look like when color is applied, I’ll duplicate the layer and turn on multiply. That will give you the same illustration above the original so the original won’t be affected by color. Then I lock the top layer and create layers below but above the original.

pull-down menu at the top of the Essentials workspace. It offers lots of options (i.e. black and white, 1-color, 2-color, etc.). Once you select your options, Illustrator will mathematically re-create the rasterized image and convert it to a vector format so you can make it any size you want. You can even do this with a hard copy of a client’s logo when they don’t have a hi-res version. It’s a good way to get something you can work with for drafts until you can get the real artwork.

Another critical tool is the image trace in Illustrator. Place a photo or illustration into Illustrator, then select image trace from the

I would also say that it’s important to get up from your desk every once in a while. Staring at the computer screen won’t make the creative juices flow, and it may slow you down more. Even if you’re on a deadline, take a break or go for a walk. When you come back, you’ll have fresh eyes and the client will get a better end product.

Our department has 13 designers across four teams who design material for hundreds of different products spanning several different markets. It is vital that we maintain brand integrity while accommodating the unique needs of each audience. To achieve this, we have adopted the use of

Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries. We have separate libraries for brand assets that all designers have access to. Pulling assets from the same libraries encourages designers to have creative freedom while staying within the brand guidelines and supporting alignment.

Have a time-saving shortcut to share? Let us know! We’re gathering feedback from our entire design community to create an ultimate list of graphic design shortcuts.

For optimized searching, we gave each asset detailed names such as “book library read” for a ‘book’ icon. This saves the designers time by allowing them to easily search for an icon directly from their Adobe programs, sparing them from manually browsing a large document of icons. Aside from the obvious increase in efficiency, the tool has promoted teamwork and collaboration. All designers can request for assets to be added and we expect the libraries to continue to improve and expand!

towards a specific type of project. Choosing the right one can save time and headaches later on.

Annalise Taber Creative Director, Shawmut Communications Group Before you open any program in Adobe’s Creative Suite, make sure you understand the scope, audience, goals, and deliverables for your project. While there is considerable overlap between the programs, each is geared

Adobe InDesign is the perfect choice for multi-page print projects. It has powerful tools that allow for consistency in layouts. For example, an 80-page booklet can be easily and quickly modified with the use of master pages and character, paragraph, and object styles. These styles can be nested to create incredibly fine-tuned rules. While it’s a bit more work up front, master pages and styles can save you hours in layout and revision time later on. Adobe Illustrator is the gold standard for working with vectors and for doing branding work. Creating and exporting assets is a breeze, especially if you’re savvy about naming your artboards. The pathfinder tool, while also found

in other programs, is at its best in Illustrator. A little creativity can go a long way to quickly create pixelperfect assets, especially when paired with the alignment and transform tools. Adobe Illustrator is also a great choice for designing large format projects such as trade show booths and banner stands, especially if you’re working with vector artwork. Adobe Photoshop is a household name for a reason; it handles image creation, correction and adjustment beautifully and consistently. However, this program wasn’t designed to handle complex layout work and will slow you down in the long run. The bottom line: save yourself hours of hassle by spending time up-front to understand your project, then choose the right tools for the job. 

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What is

DIGITAL DIRECT MAIL & Why Are Marketers Rushing To Use It?

ACCORDING TO THE 2018 DMA STATISTICAL FACTBOOK, DIRECT MARKETERS HAVE SEEN A JAW-DROPPING YEAROVER-YEAR INCREASE OF 43 PERCENT FOR PRINT MARKETING RESPONSE RATES. AND SINCE DIRECT MAIL ALREADY YIELDS ONE OF THE HIGHEST RESPONSE RATES FOR ANY MARKETING CHANNEL, THIS IS A TREND THAT MARKETERS CAN’T AFFORD TO IGNORE. Less competition, consumer preference, and better brand recall are a few of the reasons direct mail is so effective. But we wondered what else could be contributing to this dramatic upward trend, and so did the DMA. They found that



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much of the growth in direct mail response rates can be attributed to “an increase in mailings paired with digital intelligence.” Sounds great, but what does that actually mean? It means brands are starting to apply the same data and behavioral-based triggers that work for digital marketing to direct mail! This combination of digital intelligence with variable data printing and marketing automation has led to a new class of mail that many are now calling “digital direct mail.” The definition of digital direct mail is quite broad. Tactics range from simple barcode tracking to fullfledged automated mail programs that integrate with your CRM and

marketing automation platforms. No matter which strategies you employ, there is no denying that it yields impressive results. In fact, businesses using digital direct mail have seen a 190% increase in their direct mail conversions. Digital direct mail is something every marketer should consider sooner rather than later. Here are a few ways to get started.

MAIL TRACKING One of the reasons that direct mail has always been dubbed as an “offline” channel is because it lacked the tracking capabilities that come with digital marketing tactics. But thanks to the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb),










19% delivered

75% delivered

USPS letters and flats can now be traced through the mail stream. An experienced mail service provider or printer can interpret data in the IMb to provide customers with the last known scan of each direct mail campaign. This allows you to know exactly when your mail piece should arrive so you can better prepare for inbound inquiries or follow-up emails and sales calls.



It’s easy to track digital responses. You simply follow the clicks—which can be anonymous or tied to an individual using a pURL or a tracking pixel placed into your web page. However, it’s not as easy to track inbound phone calls unless a call tracking service is used. With call tracking, each direct mail campaign is assigned a unique phone number so you’ll know exactly how many calls it produced. The unique number is routed to your main business line and calls can be recorded providing further insight into your lead reception and sales processes. Call tracking can be used beyond direct mail to track calls from emails, landing pages, social media ads and more.

Personalized URLs (or pURLs) are another great way to track direct mail responses. A pURL can be formatted in several ways but in most cases, the recipient’s first and last name will be added to the domain, such as johnsmith. domains.com. When someone visits a pURL—which many people are inclined to do—the landing page uses data from your mail list to show personalized content. Pre-filled forms, personalized headlines, images, and other content is automatically shown to each recipient. However, the biggest advantage of a pURL is that each person’s interaction with your campaign is

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uniquely tracked—whether they complete a form or not! Unlike traditional landing pages which only show the number of visitors that did not convert, a pURL will tell exactly which of those visitors came to your site but did not complete a form. Then you can follow-up and encourage prospects to take that final step.

RETARGETING Brands have been using online ad retargeting for years and it makes sense to leverage the same technology for direct mail. By placing a tracking pixel on your website, you can “tag” visitors that come to your landing page. You can then expand your reach and create additional impressions— increasing your chance for conversion—by remarketing to those visitors with online display and social media ads. Text and image ads matching your direct mail campaign’s design will follow web visitors around the Internet after they leave your site. So if leads don’t take the desired action (fill out a form, buy, etc.) the first time, you’ll still stay in touch!

the data file with a direct mail template to create personalized postcards, letters, and self-mailers.

IP TARGETING Another remarketing tool for direct mail is IP targeting. Let’s say you visited a retailer’s website for the first time and looked at a particular pair of shoes. Using IP targeting and other third-party data sources, your anonymous web visit can be matched with your postal address. A few days later, you could receive a postcard with a special offer for the shoes you looked at online!

SOCIAL MATCH The studies vary, but on average it can take 8–12 touches before a prospect converts. That’s why it’s important to get the most out of every direct mail campaign you send. One option to help expand your reach is Social Match which uses your mail list to find corresponding social media accounts.

INFORMED DELIVERY® Informed Delivery is the ultimate definition of digital direct mail because it literally puts a clickable version of physical mail in someone’s email inbox. When a customer signs up for Informed Delivery from USPS, they’ll receive a daily email preview of the mail that’s being delivered that day. Marketers can take advantage of this by creating Informed Delivery campaigns that include a full-color clickable ad next to the image of each mailpiece. That means a customer can interact with your direct mail offer before they even get home to open their mailbox.

DIRECT MAIL IS NO LONGER AN OFFLINE CHANNEL Although the term digital direct mail is somewhat new, the concepts and technology have been in practice for years. Marketers can now apply the strategies that have worked so well for digital to direct mail— redefining mail in the process.

You can also remarket to known contacts in your CRM when they visit certain web pages or take other actions on your site. Using your marketing automation platform, you can create a triggered, behavioral-based direct mail campaign by sending a file or data feed to your printer. From there, printers use variable data printing technology to pair

Once a match is made (and your list meets the minimum thresholds set by each network) you can market to that audience using ads that look like your direct mail piece and show up in each person’s social feed. The ads can be set to run before your direct mail campaign starts to deliver— helping recipients recognize your brand when the mailpiece arrives. By using social match, they’ll see your message on Facebook and Instagram, even before they visit your website!


Shawmut MailPlus makes it easy to create digital direct mail campaigns.


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With digital direct mail, print is no longer a disconnected “offline” channel; it is a seamless and integrated part of the modern marketing mix. With response rates that are often double and triple those of digital-only campaigns, it’s time for marketers to take advantage of everything digital direct mail can bring to the table. 


Online vs. Commercial Printers: Can you Spot the Difference? A Q&A with Shawmut’s Director of Estimating on what you should know before placing an online order for print materials.

Buyers have a wealth of information at their fingertips. They can compare product features in seconds, seek out the lowest price, and conveniently place orders online with very little effort. But when it comes to ordering print materials online, Daniel Ortolaza, Shawmut’s Director of Estimating says, “proceed with caution.” In his experience, companies that choose to work with online print vendors can end up surprised by the outcome or disappointed in the quality—neither of which makes for a happy marketing team. So what makes online and commercial printers so different? This is a question Dan gets asked a lot, especially when customers are comparing quotes. To get some clarity we went to the expert to get his take. What is the biggest difference between commercial and online printers? In any industry, there is always someone that is going to do

it cheaper and faster, but that can come at a cost. The biggest difference in working with an online print source is the limited amount of personal interaction you’ll get. Sure, you’ll be able to source a product, maybe even at a lower price point, but you won’t have much info beyond the product description listed online. With a traditional print vendor, however, you’ll have a direct relationship with your account rep and a customer service rep—both of whom are committed to helping you create the best materials possible. Why do online printers seem less expensive? Typically, an online printer will offer a more narrow range of products and materials. The selection will be limited to pre-designed templates, and you won’t be able to create truly custom materials. The same rule applies to substrates. Traditional commercial printers have partnerships with paper manufacturers and distributors. They can help you source the

perfect materials for the job, whereas online vendors only offer a limited selection of paper stocks. By doing so, online printers can gang orders together which allows fixed setup costs to be shared and lowers the per-product cost. These limitations—along with reduced human interaction—are the biggest contributors to the difference in price. How can customers benefit by choosing a traditional print vendor? I may be biased, but there are tons of benefits to list here! When budgets are tight, it can be tempting to go with the cheapest solution; but in my experience you get what you pay for. Traditional print vendors offer consultation, project management, swatch books, physical proofs, paper dummies, and press checks— none of which are options when working with an online vendor. Partnering with a local printer also helps you support the US economy, as many online vendors produce products overseas. The most important benefit is a local vendor’s ability to help you create unique materials. This is critical for corporate marketing teams that want to go beyond cookie-cutter designs and develop campaign materials that help differentiate their brand from competitors.

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ASK AN EXPERT What are some of the issues you’ve seen when customers choose an online vendor? It’s unfortunate, but sometimes people learn the hard way— particularly for trade show displays. We’ve had several customers come to us after a bad experience with trade show materials ordered from online sources. They may look okay online, but it’s a different story once customers get these products in their hands. The issue gets worse if you’re already at the event site. In one example, the customer had to forgo using a retractable banner stand because it was falling apart when they took it out of the box. Needless to say, it wasn’t the best trade show experience. Since then, we’ve replaced their banner stands with products that include a lifetime warranty and allow them to easily swap out graphics. While it was more money in the short-term, they won’t be paying for it in the long run or damaging their brand’s reputation at their next event. Knowing the risks, what would you say to someone that chooses an online vendor anyway?

If you are going to work with an online print vendor, make sure you are knowledgeable about your specifications. Get a feel for what different grades and weights of paper feel like so you can try to apply that knowledge to the options offered online. It’s also important to have realistic color expectations. Proofing from online vendors is limited to an on-screen preview or PDF which doesn’t accurately represent CMYK color output. So when you receive the final printed product it might not be a good match to the color you approved online. Would you ever recommend working with an online print vendor? Sure, online print vendors certainly fill a need. They are great for SMBs and local businesses which may not have to adhere to strict corporate branding guidelines or compliance factors. The same could be said for startups that are trying to keep costs down. However, if the end goal is to become a leader in the industry, it’s important to start off on the right foot. Paying close attention to how materials represent the brand now can pay off as the company moves forward. 

Daniel started at Shawmut at the young age of 18 and he has taken on numerous roles and excelled in nearly every department. Currently, Dan is Shawmut’s Director of Estimating—a role he has held for the past 10 years. An avid music enthusiast, Daniel spends much of his time listening to classic Latin tunes while spending time with his family.



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ONLINE PRINTERS • Less expensive • Standard substrate options • Template-based • Online design options • Rigid timelines • Good for SMBs

COMMERCIAL PRINTERS • Consultation services • Local • U  nlimited ability to create custom materials • A  ble to react quickly to rush deadlines • Superior quality


The Battle Between Online and Offline is Over Online vs Offline. Traditional vs Digital. No matter what you call it, the war has waged on for years— and it’s completely unnecessary. At this point, it’s a well-known fact that people consume content across a ton of channels. Consumers switch between multiple devices several times per day and shift from online to offline and back again. The one-and-done approach does not work, and it never has.

So why do we continue to define marketing campaigns by whether they include print or digital? Or why do we send out a standalone postcard or email blast and expect the responses to roll in? Newsflash: that’s probably not going to cut it. True marketing success is the result of omnichannel marketing strategies—particularly campaigns that include print and digital channels. Not convinced? Here’s some data that’s hard to ignore.

Direct mail boosted ROI by 20% when it was part of an integrated campaign.


Direct mail with digital ads yields a 28% higher conversion rate.

Customers spend 25% more when businesses use a combination of direct mail and email.4


In one study, marketing campaigns that used direct mail and at least one form of digital media experienced

118% lift in response rate compared to using direct mail alone.5

Direct mail helped improve the lift of online campaigns by 62%.3

Campaigns that combine mail and email get 39% more attention, 5% greater emotional impact and 10% higher brand recall than email-only.6 Attention ATTENTION






1: Non-Profit Pro; 2 & 3: The Little Book of Bigger Returns, Royal Mail Group; 4: Postalytics; 5: Merkle; 6: Canada Post

VOL. 9, ISSUE 3, 2019



Shawmut Communications Group 33 Cherry Hill Drive, Danvers, MA 01923 www.shawmutdelivers.com

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Tactics Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 3  

Tactics Magazine is a bi-monthly publication created by and for marketing and creative minds.

Tactics Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 3  

Tactics Magazine is a bi-monthly publication created by and for marketing and creative minds.