From time to time, I like to interview owners of or people who work for small businesses. This interview is with Dan Bauman, owner of Blue Hill Press. Blue Hill Press of Canton, Massachusetts is not only a small business, it also is a business that provides services to other small businesses. The knowledgeable information he provides is hopefully of value to readers of Websites for Small Biz.
Interview with Business Owner Dan Bauman
Q: How long have you been in business? How many people work at Blue Hill Press?
Dan: Blue Hill press has been in business since 1980, the past 11 years under current ownership. We have 12 full-time employees.
Q: I hear you have a product called Variable Data Printing that can be used with a direct mail campaign. Can you tell us about it?
Dan: Variable data printing (VDP) is a form of on-demand printing in which the text can be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the printing process. This makes the marketing material relevant to the consumer because it personalizes the information on each individual marketing piece.
Whatever type of offline marketing your business is doing, your marketing materials can take advantage of variable data printing. Direct mail postcards, newsletters, calendars, brochures and posters can all be customized. For example, a set of personalized direct mail post cards, each with the same basic layout, can be printed with a different name and address on each one. Personalization of direct mail post cards can separate them from junk mail by personally addressing your potential customer. Don’t you like to open mail that is personally addressed to you?
The most basic VDP involves changing the salutation or name on each piece. But, you can also use it to change the message depending on the market segment being addressed, or change the price and scope of a product or service based on demographic instead. Rather than producing thousands of copies of the same marketing piece, use variable data printing to print thousands of unique pieces with a customized message for each customer. Variable data printing allows you and your marketing team to be creative and cost effective.
Did you know that Variable Data Printing can improve the return on your marketing campaign from 1%-2% to 10%-15%? Every business owner wants a higher response rate and more orders from existing or new customers. Use variable data printing to change your text or image and make it relevant to your customer. You will see that customer loyalty can be greatly improved when your marketing materials are delivered with a personal greeting.
Variable data printing has taken marketing to a new level; be it a letter, brochure or customized postcard, your business is bound to benefit.
Q: Why should a customer use your business instead of an online business for printing?
Dan: At Blue Hill Press, we offer personal service, help in formulating concepts, advice on how to contain costs, and guidance on how to comply with USPS regulations.
Q: How has printing changed in the past twenty years?
Dan: Technological advances have reduced the demand for printing. People send e-mails more frequently than they write letters. Organizations often post blogs in lieu of printing newsletters. At the same time, however, technology has fostered the development of powerful software that facilitates the creation of sophisticated marketing materials, including the use of variable data and variable image printing.
Q: Do you foresee even more changes?
Dan: Considering the data that shows how much more effective direct mail marketing is compared to e-mail marketing, coupled with the attractive new programs that USPS is offering to make direct mail more affordable, we envision an increase in the popularity of direct mail as a primary marketing tool.
Q: What sorts of questions should a business person ask before choosing a printing or graphics service?
- Can they assist you with paper and ink selections?
- Can they recommend a cost-effective approach to produce your project?
- Do they offer a full range of services, including graphic design, digital printing, offset printing, bindery, and mailing?
- Do they have a thorough understanding of postal regulations?
- What processes do they have in place to assure consistency of quality?
Thank you, Dan. You have given us quite an education about the printing business.
Your Turn, Please
What do you look for in a printing services company? Have you had good or bad experiences with any printing service? Do you think Variable Data Printing might be useful for your business or the business of a client? What other kinds of businesses would you like to read about on Websites for Small Biz?