Page 1

Empowering Marketing Service providers

September 2013

Sudden turns How to avoid the twisting curves on the road to success The ties that bind The last hurrah

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A good sales rep should always confirm where he stands in the complex sales process – during each step and after every meeting.



mark potter

Publisher’s Thoughts

creative director brandon clark

September 2013

The cold hard truth



Best of Canvas Notes

michael j. pallerino

Be vulnerable

ART DIRECTOR brent cashman

Editorial board


Marketing Insights P10

chris petro

Sudden turns


How to avoid the twisting curves on the road to success

tom moe Daily Printing dean petrulakis Rider Dickerson david bennett Bennett Graphics tony narducci O’Neil Printing


The ties that bind Understanding what buyers really want from you


The last hurrah How a well-executed ‘tuck-in’ could enhance your exit strategy

CANVAS, Volume 5, Issue 5. Published bi-monthly, copyright 2013 CANVAS, All rights reserved, 2180 Satellite Blvd., Suite 400, Duluth, GA 30097. Please note: The acceptance of advertising or products mentioned by contributing authors does not constitute endorsement by the publisher. Publisher cannot accept responsibility for the correctness of an opinion expressed by contributing authors.


Publisher’s thoughts

The cold hard truth


lot of what I have written over the past few years could be categorized as “feel good” stuff. I have talked about having the right attitude, changing mindsets and building relationships. In turn, a couple

of people suggested I try to stick to the facts and get to the cold hard truth. After receiving this feedback, I honestly can’t think of a harder hitting path to take. While strategy and thought leadership may seem “soft” to some people, the truth is it’s critical to your longevity. If you don’t choose to address strategy as it relates to an explicitly defined market, you can pack up all the facts you want and ride off into the sunset. Fact: Printing shipments are significantly decreasing every year. Fact: There were 39,000 commercial printers a few years ago. Today, there may be 20,000. Fact: People like mobile devices, the internet and social networking. Fact: B  randing, advertising and marketing seem to have worked since the dawn of business. Specific equipment and technology may not last the year. Based on the facts, it would seem that being strategic might be the most important thing any of us could do right now. And while that may not seem hard hitting enough for some, without strategy we are lost. Strategy and marketing have been considered “fluff” by CFOs everywhere over the past 20 years. “We are all about the bottom line,” they would say. But the bottom line is that if you don’t have some discipline around your strategic direction, the bottom is going to fall out of your bottom line. Certainly, strategy means nothing if you are unable to execute on it. The bestlaid plans will fall silent if you cannot mobilize people around them and have everyone pull in the same direction. Make no mistake about it; strategy is not soft. It is for those who dare to be great. It is for the toughest people. And that’s a fact. Please enjoy our latest digital issue. In our cover article, “Sudden Turns,” Greg Coticchia answers four questions that will help you gain clarity with your strategy – and make it measurable. In our second feature, “Five Ways to Sustain Relationships,” Deborah Corn offers some practical advice on how to remain a relevant resource for your customers – before someone else is. Warmest regards,

Mark Potter, Publisher


CANVAS September 2013

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le b a r e n l u v e B

in ave “stuff” ed. We all h w a fl y tl c e rf r ine pe rojec ting ou c t – more lik p e rt rf a e p st s e y’ w d obo dy comes when want anybo e challenge th t u B s. e e just don’t liv W . rs our e th o on s on d imperfec ti and weak. securities an r vulnerable a e p p a d ow n s u ht make hen we let ig W m r. it e g se n u ro ars beca makes us st other to see our sc ble ac tually up to us. In ra s e n ln e p vu o g d in rl o that be rt flaws, the w The irony is rfec t, we sta that we have t c fa we’re not pe e t th a th ce n ra o b ti o m n nd e against the our guard a out or guard le p o e p se n we clo words, whe egins. the magic b s, e lv e years rs u . o rs d ich over the eds, an h e n w closing doo r, sh e p lfi a se P k ose aw up to visited Moh e let go of th I wa s amped r CANVAS. I Bu t w hen w so fo , ll re e ca s th le ple sa in tow, e of my first new the peo I was, vision blication. I k It reminds m u re p e r u th o f o o S . r on rtne ing our share my visi a valued pa out every th b has become a n o d n a on t then yammering to build. Bu g in o g s a w tion new publica their needs. r focused on ve e n I – e mess. it hit m I’m a sweaty , w o n k I g in The nex t th ture on a lit tle mois t u o b a g in talk water And I’m not lking about ta I’m r; e h it e n’t get my upper lip eks. I could e ch y m n ow streaming d . fast enough others. out of there think about d n a lf e rs u ing about yo d while r: Stop think ocketed. An ve yr re sk fo e ty m ie x h n it a e. Emas stayed w e door, my it to the sid The lesson h nterest at th sh -i u lf p se to y y m tr u uldn’t check , oppororse when yo Because I co . In the end only gets w d e it e s, n e rs liv e r th u o fo y be as a b o u t w ha t part of all o who just ma anxiety is a urself. Think le yo p o r e ve p o – t e rs G n with othe ingful. insecurities. more mean al connec tio brace your d re n a a r e ke p a e m e d u realize nships to be und when yo r be able to your relatio tunities abo ve d e n n fi n ’ll u ve o e Y y . a rving others u are. You m based on se flawed as yo is – lly a re , y profession lf. nt for the Selling – an ly on yourse h our conte re lis a u b u sq p s ’t n cu o fo d . That’s sharing. We tential if you learn from it your full po the idea of to to d e g e in n cl d n e a nt f of that. W ple who wa We are proo unit y of peo m m co e th r publish it fo money. We rward. to carr y us fo e u n ti n co ill w ha t w le. It works. be vulnerab r, e b m e m So re


our n w o d t le e When w brace m e d n a d r a gu e have w t a h t t c a f the ens p o ld r o w e h flaws, t up to us.

gards, Warmest Re

Mark Pot te r Follow me @


CANVAS September 2013



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market insights

Why emotions matter in leadership What does it take to be a good leader in today’s ever-challenging marketplace? Strategy consultant Doug Sundheim says it’s all about letting your emotions out. The author of “Taking Smart Risks: How Sharp Leaders Win When Stakes are High” says good leaders are in touch with their emotions, and aren’t afraid to show them from time to time. Emotional energy can inspire workers to tackle tough goals, just as appropriately expressed anger can shock workers into mending their ways. Sundheim says it’s important to let your emotions out and let people in. Both are critical to effective leadership.


Your mistake-free guide to social media marketing

So, you have this whole social media marketing thing figured out, do you? According to Entrepreneur Magazine, small businesses still make too many mistakes when it comes to going social. Here are five mistakes that can be avoided: 1. Skip over social media 3. Forget the “social” part of where people actively are entirely – Too many say they social media – People do engaging and listening to don’t have time or that it’s just business with people, not each other instead of connot important. They are wrong. companies. If used properly, stantly promoting social media can “humanize” your brand. 2. Try to establish a presence your brand. Keep it intereston every social platform – ing. Share good stuff. Let 5. Jump in without thinking – Time is money, so the more your brand’s personality The biggest social media channels you’re active on, the shine through. mistake is believing that evmore time they require for eryone must do social media, upkeep. Examine each chan- 4. T  alk about themselves too diving in without a strategy nel to find which one your much – Social media is a and without knowing which audience is active on. Find conversation. A real converplatform your market is the match for your message. sation is a two-way street focused on.

Did you know P6

Mobile and social media services are becoming increasingly important to small and midsize businesses, according to a study by technology company Cbeyond. The study, “Summer 2013 Cbeyond Business Leader Snapshot,” found that 34 percent of executives said their businesses could not survive without mobile services, while 47 percent said social media is critical to their growth. Fifty-nine percent of small businesses plan to increase technology spending this year, the study found.

CANVAS September 2013

A snapshot of the trends defining our industry

The socials How much is too much? Your guide to content creation have it What sways your technology purchasing decisions? According to Forrester Research’s


an you have too much content? It’s a fair question. According to Jason Miller, social media strategist for Marketo, it’s important to have a regular cadence of content

“How B2B Marketers Use So-

to “feed” your content machine. The overall experts’ consensus is

cial Now,” 85 percent of busi-

that balance comes from focusing on quality over quantity, staying

ness decision-makers said at

consistent and using metrics tools to measure audience engage-

least one social media channel

ment. Once you find the perfect content rhythm for your blog,

is “very important” or “impor-

email marketing and social channels, you might discover that less

tant” when making technol-

content is bringing you more success. Here are three things Miller

ogy purchase decisions. As

and company say to keep in mind while creating your content:

No. 1 – Aim for epic Quality always trumps quantity. It’s more about how effective your content is. Does it meet your objectives? Is it igniting conversations and enabling relationships? Producing information carelessly just to build your content library won’t help your marketing efforts. In fact, it will only dilute your core points and distract your audience. To break through the clutter, content must be epic.

No. 2 – Keep it short and compelling for what sources they rely on

Pay close attention to word count and significance. Your content

to research and evaluate tech-

should include relevant and timely information that’s both edu-

nologies and services, the top

cational and entertaining. Don’t drone on. Instead of trying to

responses included support

say everything in one place, include links to information that sup-

forums or discussion forums

port your point. This will keep your audience engaged with your

(63 percent), followed by virtual

marketing platform and bolster your credibility at the same time.

events or virtual trade shows (47 percent), online videos (46

No. 3. – Measure what works

percent), LinkedIn (40 percent),

It is important to analyze your volume and frequency. Your in-

blogs (36 percent), professional

vestment into content can exhibit diminishing returns. Doubling

social networking sites, not in-

your investment might only return 40 percent greater results. Be

cluding LinkedIn or Twitter (35

realistic. Keep investing more while you move up the curve until

percent), Twitter (19 percent)

the marginal return of your incremental investment is at the same

and Facebook (19 percent).

level as your other tactics.

For more insights on content marketing strategies, visit the Content Marketing Institute at


market insights

A snapshot of the trends defining our industry

Content + More Content =


If you need anymore reasons as to why content matters when it comes to who’s buying what, the Chief Marketing Officer Council has your back. According its “Better Lead Yield in the Content Marketing Field” study, 87 percent of B2B buyers said online content has either a major or moderate impact on vendor preference and selection. Here’s a look at what type of content they prefer when researching their products and services:



Professional association research reports and white papers

48 50



Customer case studies

Industry group research reports and white papers



Analyst reports and white papers


CANVAS September 2013



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make measurable – your strategy

P10 CANVAS September 2013

By greg coticchia


How to avoid the twisting curves on the road to success



e have all been there at one time or another. You’re at the end of a sales cycle, working on the last parts of a contract. You can sense the celebration for what has been a very long process. And then it happens. Your prospect suddenly changes his mind. “But how?” you ask. “Why?” You were down to the last three items in the contract negotiations. After weeks of back and forth, and back and forth, the compilation of months of diligent work, the end was almost at hand.


sudden turns

A good sales rep should always confirm where he stands in the complex sales process – during each step and after every meeting. And just like that, he wants out of the deal. I remember the last time it happened to me. After a few days of corresponding back and forth on the contract items, I received an email the next morning that read, “We will not proceed.” Ouch. I was stunned – not only that the deal was not moving forward, but how the decision was communicated. After all that time and money, I was told it was over in an email. Not even a call. Selling is a tough business. I don’t have to tell you that. There are no “easy sales” out there. I believe all B2B marketing and selling is based on relationships. Even in this high-tech world of digital marketing, where social media reigns, our interactions are based on creating relationships. And what is the basis of these relationships? Trust. I call the process of building successful relationships building a “trust bank account.” And make no mistake about it – both sides must make more deposits than withdraws. When you are in sales, you deal with all kinds of personalities. Your job is to make sure that despite all of those back and forth discussions the “trust bank account” is built up.

P12 CANVAS September 2013

In the story I just referenced,

units” process information.

where he stands in the com-

there was a “trust bank ac-

We react when we’re under

plex sales process – during

count.” But due to some last

pressure, or not ready to act

each step and after every



or make a decision. Not every-

meeting. Losing a deal at the

my client made a 100 percent

one’s communications skills

last minute is unforgivable, no

withdraw – a sudden turn.

(see that email notification

matter the reasons. Clearly, I

Maybe it was cold feet.

above) are capable of thinking

didn’t reconfirm the benefits

Who knows? But when some-

through the impact or results

of moving forward to minimize

thing like this happens, both

of their actions.

the objections that prevented

sides lose.

I probably shouldn’t have

a 100 percent withdraw of the

The transaction isn’t com-

been surprised. A good sales

pleted, and yet my customers’

rep should always confirm

needs remain. Sure, everyone


can stitch some set of actions together to move forward in another manner, but ephemeral decisions to stop a process can do long-term harm. That’s the way “carbon-based

“trust bank account.” That’s on me.

Bad news early is good news.

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sudden turns

Make sure you and your prospect are in alignment. That’s important at each and every step of the sales cycle.

Within 24 hours of the meeting, write this note and place it in your customer/prospect file folder or your sales automation system. Believe me – it’s important. I’ve found these to be incredibly important, not just at the end of a

Why you need a confirming letter

process, but during each and every stage.

What could I have done? I should

I have found prospects cor-

have reconfirmed the deal in

rect me as to my perceptions

writing and in person. Instead,

or even correct what they told

I relied on the investment that

me. Either way, it’s important.

was made to date by the other

Remember: Bad news early is

party as evidence of commit-

good news.

ment. Confirming letters are key

Make sure you and your pros-

at every step of the sales cycle.

pect are in alignment. That’s

While not having one in this case,

important at each and every

especially as the deal was clos-

step of the sales cycle. It’s a

ing, wasn’t necessary, it should

simple tool that will make sure

have been warranted given this

you’re building your “trust bank

was the first time my prospect

account” and avoiding surpris-

was making a purchase.

es as your deal progresses. A

He clearly wasn’t ready. Honestly, he may never be.

small amount of your time will pay huge dividends.

So, what is a confirming let-

Don’t be surprised like I

ter? It is actually a simple, yet

was. Build your “trust bank

often forgotten tool in the

account” with each of your

selling process. At the end of

prospects or existing custom-

every meeting, tell your pros-

ers by taking a few minutes to

pect you’ll write him a letter

write a confirming letter after

and/or email that reviews what

each meeting or phone call.

was said in the discussion – a

It’s a lesson learned – one

draft that will confirm your un-

that will help you avoid

derstanding of where things

those sudden, sharp turns in

are in the discussion.

the road.

Greg Coticchia is an award-winning technology executive with more than 25 years experience in high-tech products and services. Recently, as CEO and co-founder of eBillingHub, he grew the company from inception to establishing it in a leading market position that led to its sale to Thomson Reuters. He currently teaches both business-to-business marketing and entrepreneurial leadership at the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz School of Business.

P14 CANVAS September 2013



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building relationships

s e i t e Th d n i b t a th g n i d n a t s r Unde buyers what want really you from

P16 CANVAS September 2013

By Deborah Corn (Print BUYERologist™)


s a Print BUYERologist, one of my biggest hurdles is finding delicate ways to tell printers why buyers really don’t want to hear from them. Sure, there always are exceptions, but in general, unless a relationship has been established beyond customer/service provider, it is hard to stay top of mind or develop stronger connections with check-ins or small talk.

In July, we started to dissect the relation-

And here’s the kicker – print it. You

ship between printers and buyers with the

can keep an electronic version on your

article, “Five Ways to Build Relationships

website that can be downloaded. This

with Customers and Prospects.” Now

will help you capture customer data and

we’re moving to the next step.

grow your mailing list. If you have the

Following are five ways to sustain the

ability – and you should – make the print-

relationship with your buyer – and not be

ed newsletter interactive with one of the

annoying in the process.

many technologies out there. Educate your customers on cross media by using

No. 1 – Newsletters

the medium versus talking about it.

Okay, I’m not suggesting you send your

Printing your newsletter will set you

clients and prospects a sales pitch in the

apart. And regardless of whether it’s

form of a newsletter. I’m recommending

printed or electronic, the content will

you use a newsletter as a means of be-

connect you to your customers. They

ing creative and thinking out of the box.

will love to be able to use it to showcase

Make your newsletter more of a love let-

their work.

ter to print and the people who create it. Include information about fun and funky

No. 2 – Social Media

print treatments from around the world.

I know – you’ve heard this before. But I’m go-

You also can showcase a piece you’ve

ing to break it down to help save you some

recently printed that is fun and funky.

time, starting with “Know thy audience.”

Include the production specs. Do in-

When is the last time, if ever, you actually

terviews with designers and buyers in

checked to see who is paying attention to

a “Meet the Community” format. Offer

you? Are you sharing relevant information

tips from your experts on file prep, color

through relevant channels?

management, choosing paper, work-

A million “likes” and followers don’t

ing with digital versus offset, and so on.

mean anything if your audience isn’t en-

Pass along job opportunities as you hear

gaged with you. Take time daily to go

about them. Congratulate your custom-

through whom you’re following and con-

ers on their promotions. You can even

nected to, and add a comment to some-

include information about your busi-

thing they’ve shared. That doesn’t mean

ness and capabilities. But don’t make it

things such as “Next time call us, we can

a sales pitch.

print this for you.”


The Ties that bind

When is the last time, if ever, you actually checked to see who is paying attention to you? Are you sharing relevant information through relevant channels?





Whether you do “lunch and

sound anti-social, weed out

learn” webinars, include educa-

and remove irrelevant and

tion in your newsletter or hold

inactive people you’re fol-

monthly events at your shop,

lowing to streamline your so-

as long as it doesn’t become a

cial feeds. Focus on building

sales pitch you’ll be rewarded

better connections with your

in print karma, and more.

active audience, and sharing

Buyers must stay topical and

information they will comment

relevant, and be able to bring

on and share.

new opportunities to their collective tables. Help them.

No. 3 – Education

Printers usually go wrong

Most buyers do not have an

in the follow-up. Instead of

So, Now You’re an MSP?

opportunity to attend trade

thanking people for joining,

shows or receive the financial

and then adding anything

support they need for continu-

about your services, simply

Just because you’re selling,

ing education. And beyond

thank them and ask if they

doesn’t mean they’re buying.

that, many buyers I’ve spo-

have any additional questions

In our next issue, Deborah

ken to, and even worked with,

or topic suggestions. And

Corn, our resident Print

have expressed a “fear” when

remember to follow up on

BUYERologist, will offer

it comes to asking too many

your follow-ups. This will help

insights on how you can

questions in the workplace.

you move beyond the pro-

approach customers with new

Printers and service providers


services and opportunities.

sit in a unique and value filled

to something more solid and

spot by helping buyers here.

long lasting.

P18 CANVAS September 2013


No. 4 – Awards

that will be submitted or of-

No. 5 – Chill

While I’ve said this before, it’s

fer to pay the submission fees.

Whether you take all or none

always worth reminding print-

Take some initiative and show

of my Print BUYERologist ad-

ers that the only thing agen-

you have skin in the game.

vice, the biggest tip I can offer

cies love more than them-

You don’t want them to think

you is to be cool. Help when

selves are awards for their

you’re just soliciting work.

help is needed. Answer when

work. Since there are plenty of

The bigger point here is that

questions are asked. Be there

awards to win, take some time

the buyer now has something

without being overbearing.

to see what will be relevant in

cool and of high value to bring

Reach out when appropriate,

2014. Send the list to your rel-

to the agency. In turn, their re-

in an appropriate manner and

evant buyers and invite them

lationship with you made this

for an appropriate reason.

to partner with you. Offer

happen. It’s a win-win. And if

And most important, be a true

them a significant deal on any-

you actually win, make sure you

partner and person we like to

thing you work on together

send over some champagne.

have around.

Deborah Corn, PRINT BUYERologist™, is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse at PrintMediaCentr, an industry speaker and blogger, and a contract Print Production and Integrated Project Manager at PrintProQuo providing 24 years of experience in print production and advertising agency management. She is the founder and cultivator of Print Production Professionals Group on LinkedIn, and host of the weekly #printchat on Twitter. Deborah also works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping with their cross media marketing and social media endeavors.

business insights

exit strategy • by Al Reijmer

The last hurrah How a well-executed ‘tuck-in’ could enhance your exit strategy


ver the past several months, we have examined how Sam and Margaret, the owners of Valley Graphic Media

(VGM), have examined several potential strategies to transition themselves toward a proper retirement solution (To read the first two stories on their journey, visit to see the April and June issues of CANVAS).




that the vast majority of printing establishments – especially commercial plants – suffered a significant revenue reduction during the 2008-2010 timeframe. In most cases, it had little to do with anything the effected companies had done wrong. Today, while many companies have regained or replaced much of their reductions over the past few years, few have

Unfortunately, the two strat-

come close to their previous

egies they reviewed – Em-

“high water” levels. Severe

ployee Stock Ownership and

excess plant capacity and the

Merger of Equals – included

need to re-tool their facilities

their continual involvement in

with new technology to remain

the company. Furthermore,

cost competitive and/or enter

Sam and Margaret concluded

new markets have forced many

that selling VGM would not

owners to reconsider their op-

provide the net proceeds consistent with their eventual full retirement goals. So now they’re evaluating a totally “New Direction” to improve

Whichever exit strategy you employ, remember that each requires proper planning and execution for a successful implementation.

their eventual exit strategy.

tions. Tighter lending restrictions, shorter terms and more personal guarantees actually have created unique opportunities for companies willing to “stay in the game.”

Sam and Margaret are in good physical health,

It’s no secret that growing organically to-

and still are very enthusiastic, even after 40 years at

day has become increasingly difficult. Growth

VGM. They decided if they were going to consider

through a strategic acquisition, most often

a “near” exit strategy that would require their con-

known as a “tuck-in,” has become the strategy

tinued involvement, they should investigate a plan

of choice for companies looking to replace lost

that could better maximize their final net proceeds

revenue and fill the excess capacity that has tak-

of that final three- to five-year “last hurrah.”

en a serious toll over the past half-decade.

P20 CANVAS September 2013




business insights

exit strategy

In a well-planned and executed tuck-in, the “sum of the parts” often will exceed the base sum of the combined revenue and profits (buyer + seller) in short order. A “tuck-in” is just like it sounds. The buyer pri-

• Slowly weaning out the least profitable

marily is acquiring the sales (book of business)

customers and replace with higher margin/

of the seller and, in most cases, doesn’t require

value-added when and where applicable.

the facility or most of the seller’s equipment. The seller’s sales team, management, adminis-

• Improving the entire post tuck-in team by

trative and production personnel also are key

retaining the best employees from both

components of a successful tuck-in transaction.

the buyer and seller.

In a well-planned and executed tuck-in, the “sum of the parts” often will exceed the base sum of the

• Creating an effective financial incentive for the

combined revenue and profits (buyer + seller) in

seller and the new combined sales team to

short order. For example, $10 million in sales rev-

maximize the “sum of the parts” opportunities.

enue (buyer), plus $5 million in sales revenue (seller) equal $17 to $18 million, providing there are no serious overlaps of clients and accounts.

In essence, there often is ample room and flexibility for deal creativity between buyer and seller in a well-planned, negotiated and

Furthermore, in due course, revenue and prof-

executed tuck-in. The goal always should be to

its significantly can be enhanced post tuck-

create a win-win scenario whenever possible

in through improved capacity utilization (of

or applicable.

course), and also if any, or preferably many, of the following post tuck-in conditions exist. • Complimentary services allowing sales teams from buyer and seller to increase/improve their offering to their respective customers.

Whichever exit strategy you employ, remember that each requires proper planning and execution for a successful implementation. In the next chapter, we’ll further explore additional strategies for Sam and Margaret to consider in their goal to establish the most ef-

•M  aximizing competitiveness with more efficient production platforms (seller provided

fective transition for Valley Graphic Media. Remember, when it comes to exit strategies,

technology), i.e., short run offset versus digital,

“One Size Does Not Fit All,” which means yours

full-size versus half or quarter size offset, etc.

could follow many paths.

Al Reijmer is a partner at New Direction Partners (NDP), a leading advisory and management consulting firm that specializes in the printing, packaging and allied graphic arts industries with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions. You can reach him at Visit New Directions at

P22 CANVAS September 2013

ColorPath ColorPath

9 J Press

9Acuity LED 1600

J Press

Acuity LED 1600

Kiss makeready goodbye. Sheetfed or web. Now you can. Kiss makeready goodbye. Sheetfed or web.

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See how at

Now you can.

See how at

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Canvas Magazine | Sudden Turns  
Canvas Magazine | Sudden Turns  

Marketing magazine that details how content = more buyers, understanding what buyers need out of a marketer, and dealing with the twists and...