Friday, February 22, 2013

5 Tips for Effective Use of Consumer Data

Big Data is the latest marketing buzz word.  Never before have marketers had so much access to information, often requiring no more effort than the click of a button.

Gender, location, salary, and family size are now considered the low-hanging fruit in the data world.  As the result of social media platforms, the real data gems now include details like food allergies, hobbies, shopping preferences, and buying patterns. Marketers today have the ability to build out a 360-degree view of their target market, from broad segments down to specific individuals. All of this data helps to shape campaigns that lead to desired responses.

Here are five tips for effectively using – and proactively managing – consumer data:

1.  Leave your biases behind. Data is often used internally to protect pet projects or support preferred outcomes. It’s important to free yourself from desired results and execute a neutral assessment of the facts.

2.  Data cleansing should be an ongoing process. Organizations often execute time-sensitive, solitary efforts to purify their databases leading to inaccurate information that impacts results.  Make data collection and revision a continuous effort.

3.  Cross-check your data. There are a variety of databases that provide similar information. By combining several of these sources, inconsistencies can be easily identified for a cleaner result.

4.  Make data collection and analysis a C-level focus. All too often, data collection and assessment reside at the lowest levels of an organization. The importance of high-quality data must be communicated by top executives.

5.  Don’t ignore the human factor. By its very nature, consumer data is in a constant state of flux. It’s important to take time to contemplate the information within the context of your business. What makes sense on paper may not make sense in reality.
5 Tips for Effective Use of Consumer Data previously appeared in Consolidated Graphicsemerge® magazine. To view emerge magazine online and to subscribe, click here.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Creating Presence…With Coatings

Coatings applied to printed material are not exactly new. They've existed for decades, used for such practical purposes as protecting ink from the effects of sun exposure and shielding paper from moisture or mildew.  More recently, coatings gained favor for enhancing the look of printed surfaces, with “spot” applications used to highlight certain graphic shapes or colors incorporated into print design.

Today, innovations in specialty coatings have been developed featuring an ultra violet (UV) process for achieving even more striking effects on printed material.  UV enables quick drying during production and more flexible applications of coatings on substrates, adding to real and perceived depth, dimensionality and texture.  Printers are pushing the envelope by combining coating effects and providing turnkey production services to efficiently increase the “shelf appeal” of printed products, especially for packaging applications at retail.  But uses extend into other applications as well.

“We’re seeing a rising interest in applications beyond packaging,” says Brad Haralson, President of Printing Inc. in Wichita, KS.  “A large national department store came to us with a need to differentiate holiday gift card holders, and our solution was a glitter UV design accent which dramatically changed the look and feel of the product for consumers – which is what the client wanted for their critical holiday selling season.”

Other factors are contributing to increase interest in coatings. Matte and raised UV coatings can be used as an alternative to physical embossing, for example, because in some instances it can be more cost-effective in some instances and provide customers with a smooth back side of the sheet.  In addition, there are now highly reflective coatings that can be overprinted to make virtually any color look metallic – a recyclable alternative to foil stamping.

Say Haralson: “Anything we can do to maximize the visual impact of a printed piece and make it interactive increases its perceived value – and gives the recipient a reason to hold onto it longer.”

Coating Options that Create Presence:

Glitter UV – Metallic flakes of glitter can be used in combination with matte or gloss UV coatings (see below).  It allows designers to create unique specialized effects in a variety of shapes, colors and dimensions.
“Heavy Metal” – Not actually metal at all, but can be used to create an ultra metallic look with more reflectivity than a metallic PMS.  A recyclable alternative to foil stamping that can be overprinted.
Pearlescent – Popular in the creation of luster effects, enabling new and unique color effects for automotive, industrial, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and other applications.
Dry-Erase UV – High gloss coating that creates a writable and dry-erase surface on many commonly used substrates, for presentation boards, games, calendars or schedule boards.
Cast and Cure – Enhances the brilliance of printed surfaces by embossing UV coating with a holographic film, and retaining the holographic impression within the coating. A recyclable alternative to holographic Mylar.
Raised matte UV  The matte UV coating is slightly raised, so it can be physically felt and seen when held at an angle to the light. When added to full color printed material, spot use adds drama and makes a piece stand out.
Raised gloss UV – Same application as matte UV, but with a gloss application that adds a noticeable richness and luxurious effect.

Creating Presence...With Coatings previously appeared in Consolidated Graphicsemerge® magazine. To view emerge magazine online and to subscribe, click here.