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Think of the Planet, and More Business Tips with Summer Around the Corner

Plus, how the “Angry Elf Test” can help you promote your shop.

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SUSTAINABILITY
Think of the Planet

Something that customers do increasingly think about is the environment, particularly when it comes to plastics and solvents. We all know large-format printing isn’t often the most eco-conscious process, but this can change – and it is changing, says Nigel Webster, managing director at PressOn, Chatham, Kent, United Kingdom. New technologies and ideas emerge all the time, and innovation in this area could be the thing that sets a print specialist apart.

Environmental conscientiousness is going to be a major consideration for print businesses in the coming years. Many customers are already asking if products are recyclable and inquiring about the carbon footprint of the solutions they’re ordering. The good news for printers is that sustainability is yet another opportunity to stand out from the competition.

By switching some of your output to things like responsibly sourced substrates and eco-friendly inks, a print company can openly and honestly let its clients know it’s working to make print greener – and the eco-angle can also be used to help persuade them to try new products.

MARKETING
Call Customers to Listen

Here’s a good sales habit to start today: Identify your top three to five accounts. Each quarter, schedule one 15-to-30-minute phone call with no sales pitch. Ask what’s currently important to them, offer your expertise, and listen more than you talk. Guess who they’ll contact when their next marketing goal calls for printed graphics?

ADVERTISING
Conjure an Angry Elf

Want to write convincing ad copy? Jay Conrad Levinson, author of Guerrilla Marketing, suggests you imagine an evil elf sitting on your shoulder, screeching, “I don’t believe that!” every time you write a sentence that tests credibility. Looking for an example of convincing, highly believable marketing copy? Read Amigo Arts’ FAQ page at our sister publication’s website: signsofthetimes.com/062101

CREATIVITY
Consider Past 2D

Adding 3D printing to your shop’s repertoire can feel like a natural next step once you implement the new-ish technology. “We fully believe 3D printing will be a big part of the future of P-O-P,” says Carolina Oliveira, client manager, Emocoes ao Quadrado. We recognize that it’s a very different type of production; it demands a lot of time for all the finishing that’s necessary to produce a final piece. However, we can introduce our clients to a whole new world of pieces that can really make a difference for the brands they’re communicating. From the feedback we’ve been receiving from our clients, they’re interested in knowing more about this new type of printing.”

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PRODUCTIVITY
Fear Can Be Motivating

Use fear to get your work done. Grant Cardone, author of The 10x Rule, puts it well: “Whatever I’m afraid of doing, I do it quickly as possible. I actually look for things that I don’t want to do. The things that I don’t want to do the most – the call I don’t want to make, the visit I don’t want to do, the letter I don’t want to write, the email I don’t want to send – those are the first things on my list. I literally use fear like a trampoline. I want to jump into it and hope I get some bounce out of it.”

STRATEGY
Think While Walking

Some of Steve Jobs’ inner circle thought his penchant for taking long “brainstorming” walks was eccentric. But neuroscience research proves Jobs was on to something, with recent studies showing that breakthrough ideas occur when the brain switches modes – from its task-oriented “executive network” to a creative “default network,” or what some researchers refer to as the “genius lounge.” The two work together. The executive network sets goals and identifies a problem while the default network comes up with solutions, although it does so in a meandering, free-ranging way. Taking a walk is the best way to trigger cooperation between the two modes, say Olivia Fox Cabana and Judah Pollack in their book The Net and The Butterfly: The Art and Practice of Breakthrough Thinking.

DATA
Ask Just Two Things

Many businesspeople like to show their acumen by commissioning customer-satisfaction surveys. Mark Hughes, author of Buzzmarketing, saves you time and money by suggesting you throw out all but two questions. “All other questions are meaningless data dung,” says Hughes. The magic questions: 1. “How did you hear about us?” (This tracks word-of-mouth and marketing effectiveness.); and 2. “Would you go out of your way to recommend our product/service to a friend?” (This measures customer evangelism, or buzz.) Getting answers to both of these questions will show you clearly whether you’re doing things right.

Big Picture magazine has been serving wide-format printing professionals for more than 25 years, providing business-specific content to help boost bottom lines through its industry-leading magazine, website, email bulletins, Brain Squad and social media channels.

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