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Busy Salespeople Let Print Do the Talking to Teens at Portland Auto Show

Posted Wednesday, April 29, 2015 by Ben Rutter.

High Quality Printed Booklet Helps to Convey the Automaker’s Brand Promise

by Ben Rutter, 17 & Keen on Print

alt textI recently attended the Portland Auto Show, an event that brings car manufacturers and dealers from across the Northwestern U.S. to advertise their goods.

alt textAs a teenager, I was of peripheral interest to the busy salespeople on the show floor. Nobody figures a 17-year-old kid is going to be able to afford a new Subaru. I was left to my own devices to wander around the cars and pick up sales material from racks and tables.

What struck me about the process was the importance put on print.

As always, human interaction is the first and foremost form of selling, but when the Portland Convention Center is mobbed with thousands of fervid car enthusiasts, printed brochures take prominence as the major form of salesmanship.

I wondered:

▪ How effective is print as a form of promotion for auto manufacturers?

▪ Which manufacturer are the most successful with their pieces?

▪ What kind of quality do they put into their printed communication?

▪ And how does that relate to their quality of the car?

For my experiment, I chose a variety of brochures and booklets, in the end filling my bag with more than 15. For the sake of keeping the reading experience to a reasonable length, I took a representative piece of print from three tiers of car maker: Scion, Honda, and Hyundai.

I will say going in that I don’t expect a perfect printed piece when each booth is going to be distributing thousands.

“With the amount of booklets handed out and the hands-off sales process employed at auto shows, it’s vital to have a well-printed product.”

On the surface, each level of car actually does seem to correlate with the quality of their booklet. In fact, my first impression was that a well-made booklet substantiates the promise made by a luxury brand.

Let’s see if that’s true.

alt textScion: This manufacturer’s entire sales system is based on a no-surprises system. Their market is the younger buyer, and their advertised prices are the prices you pay, without any optional add-ons. Their brochure reflects that. It is a piece of paper with car specs on it, folded four ways. Not extraordinary or expensive, but it is an unusual approach, and one that could stand out from a stack of traditional looking booklets.

In addition, Scion did give out free snapback hats, so good on them to appealing to their aforementioned demographic.

Honda: An invitation to open is what Honda offers with its brochure, and its photo quality is vivid on the cover of their booklet. When opened, however, the thin paper is 1-ply translucent, and a white line bisects the image of a Honda CR-V. The line does not bleed over the edge of the page. It’s not seen again in the booklet, so the reader wonders: Is it a mistake or just a poorly executed design element? Also, the thinness of the paper remains on the mind. If you are conveying a high-end solid brand with longevity and reliability, the choice of pseudo tissue paper does not suggest anything but cost cutting. I’ve seen this design element in luxury print – watches and jewelry – but it seems the wrong effect for a vehicle that is playful and sporty.

Scion’s strategy of using an eye-grabbing folding technique could pay off after all, until…

Hyundai! This manufacturer has, in the last couple of years, gone from luxurious to unquestionably solid styling. The major factor I find immeasurably satisfying in this booklet is the thickness of the substrate.

When you grab the piece and wave it, it makes that wak-kaow wak-kaow sound, like the noise a Pac-Man game makes. The choice of thick paper is unique among the printed pieces I chose.The booklet also has a spine that isn’t stapled (stitched), but creased and bound to look like a very skinny softcover book. Most people know from experience that such quality on small things is an impressive boost to one’s brand. It defies age or knowledge of print.Everyone likes a solid booklet. Hyundai did a good job, and it deserves top honors.In the end, with a few exceptions, quality of booklet – paper, technique, presentation, photos, binding choice – did indeed correlate with quality of brand.

It’s smart for these auto makers to let print convey their quality.

The role of print cannot be minimized in a situation such as a trade show or major expo.

When salespeople cannot have a deep, business card exchanging discussion with every individual who comes by, the quality of print speaks volumes.

ABOUT OUR BLOGGER: Benjamin Rutter is our local Print Teen on the street, giving the under-21 perspective on the world of print. He is a high school student who comes from a print and publishing family. Each year he volunteers to stage the print entries for the annual PrintROCKS! printing competition put on by us here at @ppiassociation. He also runs his own small business, shredding and archiving confidential print documents and giving them new life as either a digital document or a satisfying sack of recyclable material.

Stay tuned for MORE insights on GEN Z and Visual Communications!

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401k Plan – Fix It Guide

Posted Thursday, April 9, 2015 by Joe Trybula.

alt textThe IRS mandates that Plan Sponsors of 401(k) plans must test their 401(k) plans annually to ensure that the plan does not unduly benefit the owners and highly compensated employees at the expense of other employees. The Actual Deferral Percentage (ADP) and Actual Contribution Percentage (ACP) tests must be passed in order to satisfy non-discrimination requirements of the IRS.

If the plan fails either test, the employer must take corrective action to protect its qualified status in the 12-month period following the close of the plan year in which the oversight occurred.

Click Here to view the IRS 401(k) Plan Fix -It Guide.

Click Here to request additional information on how to get your plan to pass testing without getting a refund. Even if your plan passed testing, contact us to learn valuable information from the results.

For more information on how your company could take advantage of the plan design and compliance services offered by the Printers401k® program exclusively through your membership in the PPI Association, please contact Joe Trybula at 800.307.0376 or joe@diversifiedfa.com.

Investment Advice offered through Diversified Financial Advisors, LLC, a registered Investment Advisor

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DUELING CAESARS - Which Credit Strategy Improves Profit Potentials?

Posted Monday, April 6, 2015 by Andrea Schlack.

alt text Gaius Julius Caesar Led a coup, crowned himself emperor, and made an Empire from a small unstable country that had been mired in political intrigues, poverty, and dissention. He fomented instability into a cause against a common foe thus uniting the Citizens of Rome to build an army rivaled by none of his time. The army of Caesar nearly conquered all of Europe before its own collapse. He crushed those who were in his way and then pilfered their wealth to build even more prosperity, which in-turn was used to buy influence. He was the master of self-promotion, demanding that His voice be the first voice heard at any gathering, and decreeing that His voice was the only voice that mattered. He forged the first Selfie by mandating that only His image be minted on all currency.

If Julius Caesar were a credit manager his philosophy would be ‘It’s my way or the highway’. Any customer who dared challenge his authority would be trampled, he would crush those who disagree, and destroy any who dared to interfere. Would his iron rule be your Ides of March?

OR

Could Caesar Milan’s Zen like methods make him a better ‘Leader of YOUR Pack’?

Caesar Milan, Like Julius Caesar, set his own destiny by creating his own life path when he decided to jump the border and come to America with nothing but a strong desire to be more than just another poor rancher. He not only succeeded—he exceeded.

Milan, respected worldwide as an expert of animal behavior, used his unique understanding of psyche and body language to train people how to better communicate rules, boundaries, and limitations to achieve balance and control.

alt textJC tamed Rome with fear while CM tamed aggression with calm assertive energy and discipline.

So which Caesar would better define your company ethics, goals, and principals? Would you rather choose to be a sword swinging barbarian or a Zen master? The best answer is always a synthesis of the two.

Printing Industry Credit Bureau knows how to use the best of both ideologies to maximize your bad-debt recovery and to resolve potential disputes and/or disagreements.

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6 Important Shipping Decisions

Posted Thursday, April 2, 2015 by Jules VanSant.

FROM UPS MARKETING MANAGER Mike Barnes - mbarnes2@ups.com

No matter where you are in your shipping career, certain decisions can make or break your shipping operation. Here are 6 of the most important shipping-related choices to keep in mind.

1. Do you have the right box?
Why it’s an important decision: You can make real contributions to your company’s bottom line (and look like a hero) by reducing damage rates and shipping costs when you start with the right box.

Tips: Think about what you are selling, advises Quint Marini, UPS package engineering manager. “The sturdier the product, the less packaging will be needed,” he says. Size matters; smaller packages jostle around more as they travel to the consumer. “Your packaging has to be robust.” Use a box that’s new or nearly so, with no tears, rips or corner damage. A single crease reduces box strength up to 70 percent.

2. Is it time to “go green” with your packaging?
Why it matters: Sometimes “green” means not just more sustainable but less money, too. For example, UPS customer Underwater Audio was able to reduce packaging costs by an average of $6.50 per shipped unit after implementing a sustainable packaging program.Tip: Stock up on recycled bubble pack, peanuts or other packing materials. Using a box that’s too big wastes packing materials as well as space on the trucks or airplanes that deliver your goods.

3. Do you have the right shipping software?Why it’s an important decision: Shortcuts and integration – such as pulling address data from customer orders – streamline shipping. Being able to integrate shipping with your inventory and accounting software can save you loads of money and time, and reduce errors.Tips: UPS Internet Shipping is best for low-volume or occasional shippers (fewer than 25 packages per week). For companies with multiple locations and multiple shippers, UPS CampusShip® might work best. It allows you to log in from anywhere but with centralized controls and billing. If you expect to ship more than 25 packages a week, or have more complex needs, upgrade to WorldShip®. WorldShip is best for high-volume shipping operations.

4. Should you integrate shipping with your website?
Why it’s an important decision: The payoff from end-to-end integration can be dramatic. Martin Guitar integrated its computer data with WorldShip and saved 40 hours a month, says Kathy Hartzell, logistics manager. Results were similar at ProMarine USA, a marine engine-parts supplier that integrated its website with WorldShip and ProMarine’s invoice and inventory systems. “Now we can pick and pack a shipment in 10 minutes,” says Tony December, general manager.

Tip: UPS Developer Kit APIs can be integrated into your website’s shopping cart with APIs (application programming interfaces) for shipping, tracking and even address validation. The APIs are free, but require tech support to install.

5. Should you drop ship?
Why it matters: When suppliers ship directly to customers, you save time and money. The key is to ensure top-notch customer service, as measured by WISMO (where is my order?) calls.Tip: “UPS makes it simple,” says Katy Kiyo of Big Hug, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. She requires her 30-odd suppliers to ship via UPS, and she uses tracking technology to keep customers up to date. “We don’t get WISMO calls,” she says.

6. Can you get closer to the customer?
Why it’s an important decision: Arranging for warehousing and distribution closer to your buyers saves shipping costs and speeds transit times. So customers get goods faster, which they expect.

Tips: “Large retail chains are now turning local retail locations into virtual distribution centers,” Ganesh says. “But that requires space, trained staff and solid inventory management.” A better alternative for some could be outsourcing distribution and fulfillment to UPS, especially since UPS Contract Logistics allows you to scale up or down as needed without making a heavy capital investment or hiring and training your own staff.

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Tips for Avoiding an IRS 401k Compliance Check

Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2015 by Joe Trybula.

How to Avoid IRS Scrutiny on your Form 5500: The Internal Revenue Service says it uses information on Form 5500 returns and reports to select cases for compliance checks. For the Plan Sponsor, the IRS cautions that entering incorrect information or leaving a field blank on the Form 5500 increases the likelihood of being targeted for a compliance check. Click here for examples of these types of errors which include:

  • Make an entry on the wrong line item
  • Put an entry in a wrong box
  • Leave a line blank that needs an entry
  • Use an incorrect code

For more information on how your company could take advantage of the compliance services offered by the Printers401k® program exclusively to PPI Association members, please contact Joe Trybula 800.307.0376 or joe@diversifiedfa.com

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