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4 simple steps to better marketing

Dec 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By M. Richard Vincour

A couple of months ago at Graph Expo in Chicago, I gave several presentations at the NAPL booth. I outlined four basic, elementary strategies to promote and market printing companies. As I repeated the presentation, I realized that I never had actually written about the four simple ways to establish a marketing program. So here goes.

It's more than who you know

Dec 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By Dick Gorelick

The company saw their new employee as a technically knowledgeable person with ambition and a good work ethic. It was also impressed by his many important industry contacts. Sadly, after more than six months, his sales volume bordered on the non-existent. What went wrong? It’s a classic case of someone being hired, then expected to perform based on who he knows rather than what he knows.

Sales rep: a commercial social worker?

Nov 1, 2004 12:00 AM, Dick Gorelick

I've noticed a phenomenon in the graphic arts industry in recent years: It involves a salesperson with little or no selling or graphic arts experience, who somehow identifies major opportunities and generates unexpectedly great sales volume during the first year or two. However, this person lacks technical expertise in print and therefore drives his or her estimator, customer service representative and production personnel to distraction.

Be wary of sub-par data & sub-par advice

Oct 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By Steve Johnson

That was all there was. By convention, usually is followed by the name or title of the person to whom a letter is addressed. I marveled at this bold departure from etiquette. Donning my Sherlock Holmes deerstalker cap, I weighed the possibilities. My first thought was that the letter must be from my wife, to the best of my recollection the only person who calls me However, she stopped writing me letters

Slow & steady wins the race

Oct 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By Dick Gorelick

The spirit of P.T. Barnum lives on in the graphic-arts industry. It is embodied in the speakers and consultants, and many of the organizations that sponsor them, who promise the silver bullet: the secrets to instant success. Life is complex, only slightly more so than managing or selling for an organization that provides a custom-manufactured product or service. It's an industrial Rubik's Cube, loaded

MIS: Beyond the basics

Sep 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By Leslie Shiers

Quick printers and small commercial plants don't have the same management information system (MIS) needs as their larger counterparts. An off-the-shelf system including estimating, job ticketing, invoicing and accounts receivable capabilities usually will suffice and cost less than $5,000. MIS vendors, however, now are expanding their products to encompass more of the small shop's business goals.

Welcome to 101 Ways

Sep 1, 2004 12:00 AM,

I'm a huge Dick Gorelick fan. I often quote his AMERICAN PRINTER columns and never miss his newsletter or an opportunity to meet with him. Not only is Dick one of the funniest people I know, he's also a font of practical advice. He's spent more than 40 years in the printing and publishing business and has successfully founded four companies. Dick is the president of Graphic Arts Sales Foundation (GASF),

The new concept of sales management

Sep 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By Dick Gorelick

I cringe when I hear a company is seeking a sales manager with a track record of at least five years. The buyer-seller landscape has changed so dramatically during the past five years that the traditional notion of sales management has lost relevance. Until recently, sales management has reflected some universal assumptions: There are indeed all-purpose truths behind successful selling. Selling can

Buying paper

Aug 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By Sabine Lenz

Cliches come in threes, and so does paper-buying advice. What's the most important real estate criteria? Location, location, location. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. What's the best way to buy paper? Plan, plan, plan. It may seem like common sense, but it's also sound advice. Whether you need standard papers or commodity grades where no current excess capacity exists,

Alleviating print buyers' anxiety

Aug 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By Dick Gorelick

Let's face it: the graphic-arts industry is not perceived, even among its own ranks, as the paragon of stability and good management. While the fortunes of many, if not most, printers have improved during the past several months, the print-buying community is no less sensitive about the financial stability and management acumen of their print suppliers. In many cases, this is compounded by outright

Different vs. differentiated

Aug 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By Steve Johnson

When I was a kid, people often said I was It wasn't exactly clear what they meant, but I don't think it was as a compliment. Industry pundit Dick Gorelick has cautioned against confusing differentiation (in which your firm is seen by the marketplace as offering unique services and/or products of benefit that cannot be obtained readily anywhere else) and being different (in which your firm is viewed

Management Plus

Aug 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By Deborah Donberg

Business excellence in the graphics-arts industry is what the NAPL's (Paramus, NJ) Management Plus program is about. The two-part program, in existence for more than 20 years, requires entrants first to complete a comprehensive self-evaluation form, which requests details on the company's financial performance, internal control systems, marketing/sales plan, vendor relations, business planning, human

The Latitudes of LEAN

Aug 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By Teresa Koltzenburg

There has to be a business reason for doing this. "This" being lean manufacturing, standardizing work, training employees in Six Sigma, utilizing kanban organizational cards, or implementing workplace organization/housekeeping elements. If you're doing just one of these things, or all of these things, there should be a reason behind your lean implementation. [Manufacturers] have to understand that, explains

A successful sales team needs your support

Jul 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By Dick Gorelick

Definitions change meanings quickly in this business. For example, not too many years ago, when a buyer complained about supplier neglect, it meant that the buyer didn't see a salesperson often enough. Today, neglect most often means the salesperson calls but has nothing meaningful to tell the buyer. The term sales support also has undergone profound change. At one point, everyone shared the same

Variable printing in the Illinois Senate race

Jun 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By Steve Johnson

Although he didn't come out on top in the Illinois primary election this spring, Andy McKenna won, hands down, the prize for best use of variable data in a political campaign. There's a lesson to be learned from the digitally printed, variable-content postcards McKenna employed in the eleventh hour of his senatorial campaign even if you shy away from political printing. I've observed that variable

Putting meaning into the Q word

Jun 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By Dick Gorelick

The results of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award are now little more than a sidebar in business publications. Word is that the sponsors have difficulty persuading companies to enter the competition. The Malcolm Baldrige Award had its roots in the national frenzy surrounding Japanese management methods and the pressure on U.S. companies to compete more effectively. Fortune 500 firms literally

What's your pricing philosophy?

May 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By Dick Gorelick

Pricing is the Holy Grail of the graphic-arts industry: Many are in search of the mathematical formula and, just when it seems that the formula is about to be set in stone, competitors complicate life by refusing to play by the same rules. One of the consequences of a three-year period of intense price competition is dialogue about pricing theory. I'm often asked whether I prefer cost-plus pricing

If you respond to an RFP, make it count

Apr 1, 2004 12:00 AM, By Dick Gorelick

Mention the new buying environment in polite company and two things usually come to mind: the reverse auction, in which the lowest online bidder by a specific deadline wins the job or contract; and the request for proposal (RFP), generally considered by the print community as a plot by larger buying organizations to occupy estimators for a week, calculating figures that likely will never be used.

MIS selection tips

Apr 1, 2004 12:00 AM,

Finding the right management information system (MIS) isn't an easy task. Profectus Consulting (Sarasota, FL), a national print consultancy, has compiled more than 1,000 functional requirements for companies to consider when reviewing MIS options. According to president Craig L. Press, the midsize printer should consider at least 400 of these. Press suggests a three-step process for matching your

Don't manage salespeople, mentor them

Mar 1, 2004 12:00 AM, by Dick Gorelick

Don't manage salespeople, mentor them