Tuesday, December 12

Using Web Tools

In case you have not noticed, there is a communication revolution occurring on the Internet that will eventually threaten anyone in advertising who forgets that it is a strategic and creative idea (and the ability to communicate that idea) — not technology —  that makes all the difference. An arsenal of design programs and commercial printer discounts are no longer enough to keep accounts happy.

Our last minute holiday greeting cards provide the perfect example. Five years ago, we made a substantial investment to produce Addy award-winning cards, using the traditional process. Provide creative direction and copy to a selected local designer, print them at one of our local printers, and assemble the rest in the office (the cards included a silver dollar and hand-stamped wax seals). The cost was around $10 per card. The turnaround time was nearly three months. The quantity was 500, about 380 more than we needed at the time.

Don't get me wrong; they were worth it. We still have several clients refer to them, and they were part of a bigger strategic plan for our company. I would do it all over again given the same circumstances.

Last year, those circumstances did not exist. We were too busy in October or November to get the ball rolling. After all, the standard rule of thumb is 2-3 weeks for the designer (even more on elaborate jobs) and 10 business days for printing.

Sure, we could have done what we sometimes do for clients who want design along with great copy: tap an out-of-market designer from our international talent pool, which reduces the cost by 50 percent and the turnaround to a few days. But even then, we didn't have 10 days for the printer.

So last year, we settled for 250 Hallmark cards with our name inscribed inside for around $3.50 per piece. It's the thought that counts, right? So this year, on Dec. 1, we started thinking differently.

Despite the same time constraints, we were able to produce and print a custom card, at about $2 apiece with no minimum, in three days. And, we also posted a public version that could (and can) be purchased by anyone before our order was filled. If you want to see the public version (without our logo inside), visit Think! Copywrite, Ink. store.

Sure, this year's card will not be featured in Communication Arts, but next year's might be. You see, the main point of this post is that our industry might consider thinking differently because the definition of 'value' is shifting.

Program reliant production artists, template web designers, low-grade video producers, mid-grade photographers, and 10-day print jobs with minimum quantity orders are all endangered species. Technology is no longer enough to sustain them as commercial communication is finally getting back to where it is most effective: communication ideas over tech suaveness.



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