Category Archives: Helping Your Business Grow



As of October 1, 2015 we will be making changes to pricing for some of our pre-flight and file handling charges. This will not effect a majority of our trade customers but we feel it’s important to highlight it to all of our valued customers and have it on our website for all to see.

We like to look at this as your insurance policy in some ways. It will give you a guideline of possible ways to cut your own costs, if you are confident your files are in print ready condition. Also it gives you a clear reference of what will be charged when choosing any pre-flight / file handling option.

During the 2nd phase of the order process where you upload your file, there is a 3rd step that requests what kind of file check you would like. These are the options below and the changes that will be made October 1, 2015.


No check necessary. I’m using an existing file or I’ve supplied a .pdf file as per the File Checklist. Any setup errors I acknowledge are my responsibility
(currently Free of Charge and will remain Free of Charge)

The small print….
Where a file has not been supplied to our specs, and we catch it, we reserve the right to, at our own discretion, either:
i) Where possible fix the file and proceed with production. A minimum $35.00 service fee applies.
ii) Delete the file from production and request a new file to be supplied. A minimum $15.00 new file service fee applies.

Where we do not catch a file supplied incorrectly, and it goes through production, the client is still responsible for any errors and full payment of production will be required.

Should you have any concerns, we recommend having your files “preflight”.
Your job may be EITHER ‘Auto approved’, requiring no proof, OR an email proof sent out for you to double check.


Yes, please check my .pdf file – but email me if something’s wrong and I will fix it and re-upload
(currently $8.50 will increase to $15.00)

The small print….
For this we will check the following during the preflight process:

Correct page size setup
Keyline on artwork
Correct bleed setup
Colours and images are CMYK (for 4 colour print) or spot (for specials)
For any unsafe text/print areas

Note: We do not check for incorrect spelling, typography errors or wrong numbers, or anything else over & above this list. This is the client’s/designers responsibility. If you have selected ‘auto’ approval – and if the preflight check is error free, your file will be automatically actioned for production. If any error is detected we will advise you of the fixes required, for you to upload a new file. *Please note: Files containing multiple pages (ie books, magazines etc.) will take longer, and therefore incur an additional cost, which we will advise prior to preflight. Files must be supplied as a pdf on one of our templates and setup ready for print to our specs.


Yes, please check my .pdf file, and if possible, fix it for me
(currently $14.95 will increase to $23.00)

The small print….
NO ‘FIX’ CHARGES APPLY if the file is supplied correctly – You will ONLY be charged for the ‘Preflight’ * Please note: Files containing multiple pages (ie books, magazines etc.) will take longer, and therefore incur an additional cost, which we will advise prior to fixing.

Preflight + Fix $23.00 service fee applies per file* IDEAL FOR NEW CLIENTS WITH PREDESIGNED FILES. Same as the Preflight Upload, except if an error is detected during ‘Preflight’, we will simply fix the error and send out a proof for you to check.
Files must be supplied as a pdf on one of our templates and setup ready for print to our specs.


Yes. I am supplying another type of file (not a .pdf) so please make it ready for printing
(currently $19.95 will increase to $30.00)

The small print….
Please note: Due to the wide scope of file formats available, some files supplied may require additional work to get them print ready. We will advise you if this is the case, and any extra cost associated, prior to work commencing.

We will set up the following:

Correct page size setup
Keyline on artwork
Correct bleed setup
Colours and images are CMYK (for 4 colour print) or spot (for specials)
For any unsafe text/print areas.

Note: We do not check for incorrect spelling, typography errors or wrong numbers, or anything else over & above this list. This is the client’s/designers responsibility. * Please note: Files containing multiple pages (ie books, magazines etc.) will take longer, and therefore incur an additional cost, which we will advise prior to preflight.
Any File $30.00 service fee applies per file* IDEAL FOR CLIENTS WHO PREFER US TO JUST MAKE IT WORK! Supply virtually any file. We will get it set up ready to print, and send you a proof to double check, or contact you, in the unlikely event, that we’re unable to make it print ready.*


We hope that the above has been communicated clearly for you. We’ve based the above pricing to reflect our standard $90 per hour artwork/design charge, and believe it is a far representation of the industry standard for these services. 
Of course if you’d like some more clarification feel free to pick up the phone and freephone 0800 533 677. We’ll be happy to guide you towards the best and most cost effective pre-flight option for your jobs. As always our goal is to get your jobs produced to the highest quality while making it easy for you and your customers.

The team at TPH.

Digital Printing


This month we are putting the spotlight on digital printing. Within the last few years, technical advancements in digital printing has seen the quality and control of digitally printed jobs stand toe to toe with the traditional offset printed projects.

In the past when choosing to digitally print your project as apposed to offset print, you would be controlled by limitations such as paper stocks and thickness, quality on the printed image, cost, size of the worksheet and the inability to apply finishing processes to the printed piece. All of these, and more, are now diminished with today’s digital print technology.

Of course there are benefits limitations to both print processes, and thankfully our knowledgeable staff at TPH can help guide you to which best suits your needs. For example, for high volume jobs offset printing will make your unit cost more effective. The larger sheet sizes allow us to ‘gang’ up many jobs, but this is nothing new really. At a later date we will walk you through more benefits of offset printing. For now however, we’d like to put a spotlight on digital print and its benefits. It may give you more of an insight into digital printing and help guide you which process is best for your next job.

Short turnaround times
The digital print process has an extremely quick setup time. Jobs can be approved and printing in a matter of minutes or hours as opposed to offset printing which takes time to imposed jobs, produce printing plates and allow for the printing press setup time. It is the answer for urgent projects with short turnaround times.

New Increased Sheet Size
Recent advances in technology allow us to now print on an oversized sheet measuring 330mm x 660mm. This allows us to now digitally print A4 landscape covers, 3 panel A4 portrait brochures and short run presentation folders, to name a few. What would have previously been forced to be offset printed can now be affordably done in low quantities, with the same high quality finish.

Personalised Printing
Variable Data Printing is a form of customisable digital printing. Customised marketing collateral is now easily achievable and often now expected to achieve results. Using information from a database, text and graphics can be changed on each piece without stopping or slowing down the digital press.

Cheaper Low Volume Printing
Digital printing provides lower per unit costs for small print runs. Minimal setup and run costs allow for this.

Envelope Printing
Digitally printed envelopes are now achievable. Perfect for weddings, corporate events and mail-out campaigns. Previously the setup costs of offset printing limited envelope printing to larger runs to be cost effective, now digital print technology makes small envelope print runs viable.

Quality Short Run Books Now Achievable
High-quality, low-quantity books are now achievable through digital printing. Whether they are stapled or perfect bound, small runs of publications can now be produced in a cost-effective way, in a fraction of the time, to the exact quantity you need.

Check out some of the following digital print products we can offer you; business cards, banners, brochures, calendars, flyers, posters, presentation folders, rackcards and stickers to name a few.
If you have any questions about which printing process would best suit your project email us at or drop us a line at 0800 533 677.

Presentation Folders

Printing A4 & A5 CUSTOM PRESENTATION FOLDERS Online for NZ Businesses

It has to be said that custom Presentation Folders (with a business card) makes a company, as clothes makes a man (or woman). That said, some will no doubt argue that neither applies (clothes or presentation folders), but in both cases the 3 second impression rule applies – and that impression can be difficult to reverse.

So, why would you consider printing custom presentation folders?

In my experience, If you’re dealing B2B or B2C and you’re wanting to give additional information to prospective clients then a corporate presentation folder will be what separates you from your competitors. Yes, it makes sense to have the material on a website but at an expo, conference or meeting proposal, you’re going to have some information that you want them to physically touch – we have 5 senses, and research has shown that engaging as many of those senses (in a positive manner) will lead to a higher retention rate.

Custom presentation folders including online offerings come in various sizes and shapes. We have various presentation folder design templates that you can chose from, as well as A4 & A5 blank presentation folders for NZ businesses. At the end of the day, you want something that transports well and shows off the company in a fitting manner. Tatty paper tells me you’re an ‘at home’ business or you just son’t value your product or service – and at the same time cheap presentation folders for NZ companies will not help either.

Do Custom Presentation Folders need to have Business Card slots?

Presentation Folders do not need to be expensive, in fact, some of our cheap presentation folder options are ideal for certain businesses, but they all need to communicate a clean and professional image… and they do need to have a slot to hold your business card. Even in today’s smartphone society, many people still use business cards as a tactile way of handing out their details. The great thing about some of the TPH Presentation Folders is that we offer both landscape and portrait slot options for holding a business card. This way your details are up the normal way regardless of the style of your business card. Thankfully we are one of NZ’s leading suppliers of printed Business Cards to New Zealand companies.

I remember a  time (not that long ago) when people thought mini cd’s or USB’s were the way to give out information. The novelty of the mini CD lasted for all of 30 secs – until you realised that they could have had all this info on a website and a cool business card with the link would have been quicker! Both the CD or USB  were expensive ($5-$15) per unit depending on the data loaded and – in all honesty – if the USB was not branded with your contact details – the info contained on the USB would normally be deleted or reformatted so that you had a clean USB for yourself. Thank you company (who was it again?) for the USB.

Where to use printed Custom Presentation Folders?

It’s interesting to note that Presentation Folders in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch (the main centres ) appear to be more common per head of population than the smaller towns / communities, especially the further South you go. I guess that’s because you’re more likely to do business with the person because you know them or know of their reputation (small town – ‘Cheers’ philosophy – where everyone knows your name) than in the larger main centres where decisions are made primarily on knowledge of the product or service, and less on the person that is doing the selling.

If you’re presenting or showing at a conference, trade show, workshop, seminar or expo then you will ideally be handing out key material in a branded presentation folder to hot prospects. Not just anyone – but those that you have qualified as being interested and looking at making a decision within a specified time. For those that are not hot prospects, then a business card or simple brochure will do. At TPH we send courier out sample packs of our work within a TPH full colour printed presentation folder. Folders keep the contents together and keeps our samples looking fresh and new for when clients want to see our print work (if you’ve ever couriered anything you’ll know they don’t use white gloves and cotton wool to handle your packages!)

What type of Presentation Folder found Online is Best?

One white presentation folder style doesn’t fit all – so for this reason we have a number of options that cater for various needs.

If you’re only needing 50 – 250 folders then our digital custom presentation folder range is cheaper (and best value for short runs) with a reasonably quick 3-5 working day turnaround. You can order these at

Our standard and most popular style is the single pocket, self assemble presentation folder. Printed Full Colour on one or both sides with the option of laminating is ideal for runs of 500 – 1000 printed folders. These are available at

Check out the video on how simple it is to assemble our presentation folders.

A5 Presentation Folders NZ are also a popular option, and more compact for taking with you to give out at expos, conferences etc. You can purchase blank presentation folders nz, white presentation folders nz and custom printed presentation folders that are already pre-assembled or use a glued pocket. This is ideal if you are short on time and do not want to be folding them up yourself. The downside, however, is that storage of assembled presentation folders can take up to 5 times the storage space needed just for folders supplied flat and unassembled. SO if you’re short on space, unassembled folders are best from a space and cost saving point of view.

Depending on how much material you’re wanting to hold in the presentation folder will depend on whether you require;

1. Single pocket – ideal for up to 12 sheets of 80gsm copy paper

2. Single pocket with gutter pocket and spine – depends on the depth of your pocket gutter. As a general rule, a 3mm pocket can fit 25 sheets of A4 80gsm.

3. Double pocket - ideal for up to 24 sheets of 80gsm copy paper

4. Double pocket with gutter pockets and spine – see point 2 and then double it.

Size wise, we have a variety of styles and sizes to fit A4 or A5 material. Need templates or ideas,  simply contact one of the team on 0800 533 677 or email

For a full range of quality Custom Presentation Folders in NZ visit;



(Part 2 of 2) The 12 Most Common Mistakes With Direct Mail.


Mistake No. 8: Poor follow-up.

Recently a company phoned to ask whether I was interested in buying its product, which was promoted in a mailing I’d answered. The sales person became indignant when I confessed that I didn’t remember the company’s copy, its product, its mailing, or whether it sent me a flyer or promotional material.

“When did I request the brochure?” I asked. The caller checked her records. “About 4 months ago,” she replied.

Interested (hot) leads quickly turn cold when not they are not followed up on quickly. Slow fulfillment, poor marketing literature, and inept telemarketing can also destroy the initial interest that you worked so hard to build.

Here are some good questions you should ask about your current enquiry fulfillment procedures:

  • Am I filling orders or requests for information with 48 hours?
  • Am I using telephone follow-up or mail questionnaires to qualify prospects? By my definition, an enquiry is a response to your mailing. A lead is a qualified enquirer—someone who fits the descriptive profile of a potential customer for your product. You are after leads, not just inquiries.
  • Am I sending additional mailings to people who did not respond to my first mailing? Test that. Many people who did not respond to mailing No. 1 may send back the reply card from mailing No. 2, or even No. 3.
  • Am I using telemarketing to turn nonresponders into responders? Direct mail followed by telemarketing generates two to 10 times more response than direct mail with no telephone follow-up, according to Dwight Reichard, telemarketing director of Federated Investors Inc., Pittsburgh, Penn.
  • Does my enquiry fulfillment package include a strong sales letter telling the prospect what to do next? Every package should.
  • Does my enquiry fulfillment package include a reply element, such as an order form or spec sheet?
  • Does my sales brochure give the reader the information he needs to make an intelligent decision about taking the next step in the buying process? The most common complaints I hear from prospects is that the brochures they receive do not contain enough technical and price information.

Don’t put 100% of your time and effort into lead-generating mailing and 0% into the follow-up, as so many mailers do. You have to keep selling, every step of the way.


Mistake No. 9: The magic words.

This mistake is not using the magic words that can dramatically increase the response to your mailing.

General advertisers, operating under the mistaken notion that the mission of the copywriter is to be creative, avoid the magic words of direct mail, because they think those magic phrases are cliches.

But just because a word or phrase is used frequently doesn’t mean that it has lost its power to achieve your communications objective. In conversation, for example, “please” and “thank you” never go out of style.

What are the magic words of direct mail? Well, there are several…

Free. Say free brochure. Not brochure. Say free consultation. Not initial consultation. Say free gift. Not gift.

If the English teacher in you objects that “free gift” is redundant, let me tell you a story. A mail-order firm tested two packages. The only difference was that package “A” offered a gift while package “B” offered a free gift.

The result? You guessed it. The free gift order in package “B” significantly out pulled package “A”. What’s more, many people who received package “A” wrote in and asked whether the gift was free!

No Obligation. Important when you are offering anything free. If prospects aren’t obligated to use your firm’s wastewater treatment services after you analyze their water sample for free, say so. People want to be reassured that there are no strings attached.

No salesperson will call. If true, a fantastic phrase that can increase response by 10% or more. Most people, including genuine prospects, hate being called by salespeople over the phone. Warning: Don’t say “no salesperson will call” if you do plan to follow up by phone. People won’t buy from liars.

Details inside/See inside. One of those should follow any teaser copy on the outer envelope. You need a phrase that directs the reader to the inside.

Limited time only. People who put your mailing aside for later reading or file it will probably never respond. The trick is to generate a response now. One way to do it is with a time-limited offer, either generic (“This offer is for a limited time only.”), or specific (“This offer expires 9/20/01.”). Try it!

Announcing/At last. People like to think they are getting in on the ground floor of a new thing. Making your mailing an announcement increases its attention-getting powers.

New. “New” is sheer magic in consumer mailings. But it’s a double-edged sword in industrial mailings. On the one hand, business and technical buyers want something new. On the other hand, they demand products with proven performance.

The solution? Explain that your product is new or available to them for the first time, but proven elsewhere—either in another country, another application, or another industry. For example, when we introduced a diagnostic display system, we advertised it as “new” to U.S. hospitals but explained it had been used successfully for five years in leading hospitals throughout Europe.


Mistake No. 10: Start with the product—not the prospect.

In my New York University copywriting workshop, I teach students to avoid “manufacturer’s copy”—copy that is vendor-oriented, that stresses who we are, what we do, our corporate philosophy and history, and the objectives of our firm.

You and your products are not important to the prospect. The reader opening your sales letter only wants to know, “What’s in it for me? How will I come out ahead by doing business with you vs. someone else?”

Successful direct mail focuses on the prospect, not the product. The most useful background research you can do is to ask your typical prospect, “What’s the biggest problem you have right now?” The sales letter should talk about that problem, then promise a solution.

Do not guess what is going on in industries about which you have limited knowledge. Instead, talk to customers and prospects to find out their needs. Read the same publications and attend the same seminars they do. Try to learn their problems and concerns.

Too many companies and ad agencies don’t do that. Too many copywriters operate in a black box, and doom themselves merely to recycling data already found in existing brochures.

For example, let’s say you have the assignment of writing a direct-mail package selling weed control chemicals to farmers. Do you know what farmers look for in weed control, or why they choose one supplier over another? Unless you are a farmer, you probably don’t. Wouldn’t it help to speak to some farmers and learn more about their situation?

Read, talk, and listen to find out what’s going on with your customers.

In his book “Or Your Money Back,” Alvin Eicoff, one of the deans of latenight television commercials, tells the story of a radio commercial he wrote selling rat poison. It worked well in the consumer market. But when it was aimed at the farm market, sales turned up zero.

Mr. Eicoff drove out to the country to talk with farmers. His finding? Farmers didn’t order because they were embarrassed about having a rat problem, and feared their neighbors would learn about it when the poison was delivered by mail.

He added a single sentence to the radio script, which said that the rat poison was mailed in a plain brown wrapper. After that, sales soared.

Talk to your customers. Good direct mail—or any ad copy—should tell them what they want to hear. Not what you think is important.


Mistake No. 11: Failing to appeal to all five senses.

Unlike an ad, which is two-dimensional, direct mail is three-dimensional and can appeal to all five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste. Yet most users of direct mail fail to take advantage of the medium’s added dimension.

Don’t plan a mailing without at least thinking about whether you can make it more powerful by adding a solid object, fragrance or even a sound. You ultimately may reject such enhancements because of time and budget constraints. But here are some ideas you might consider:

Do you have a powerful message that a company spokesperson can deliver in dynamic fashion to your audience? Consider adding a DVD to your package (or a flashdrive, which is more expensive for premium products or services).

Pop-ups. Chris Crowell, president of Essex, Conn.-based Structural Graphics Inc., says pop-ups can increase response up to 40% when compared with a conventional flat mailing. You can have a pop-up custom designed for your mailing or choose from one of many “stock” designs available.

Money. Market research firms have discovered that enclosing a dollar bill with a market research survey can increase response by a factor of five or more, even though $1 is surely of no consequence to business executives or most consumers. Has anyone tried using money to get attention in a lead-getting industrial mailing?

Sound. Have you seen the greeting cards that play a song when you open them because of an implanted chip or some similar device? I think that certainly would get attention. But as far as I know, no one has used it yet in direct mail.

Product samples. Don’t neglect this old standard. Enclose a product or material sample in your next mailing. We once did a mailing in which we enclosed a small sample of knitted wire mesh used in pollution control and product recovery. Engineers who received the mailing kept that bit of wire on their desks for months.

Premiums. An inexpensive gift such as a slide guide, measuring tape, ruler, or thermometer can still work well.

One recommendation and warning: A lot of us, including me, need to be a little more imaginative if we want our mailing package to stand out in the prospect’s crowded mailbox. At the same time, we must remember that creativity can enhance a strong selling message or idea but cannot substitute for it. As copywriter Herschell Gordon Lewis, president of Communicomp in Plantation, Fla., warns, “Cleverness for the sake of cleverness may well be a liability, not an asset.”


Mistake No. 12: Creating and reviewing direct mail by committee.

Do you know what a moose is? It’s a cow designed by a committee.

Perhaps the biggest problem I see today is direct mail being reviewed by committees made up of people who have no idea (a) what direct mail is; (b) how it works; or (c) what it can and cannot do.

For example, an ad agency creative director told me how his client cut a three-page sales letter to a single page because, as the client insisted, “Business people don’t read long letters.”

Unfortunately, that’s an assumption based on the client’s own personal prejudices and reading habits. It is not a fact. In many business-to-business direct mail tests, I have seen long letters outpull short ones sometimes dramatically.

Why pay experts to create mailings based on long years of trial-and-error experience, then deprive yourself of that knowledge base by letting personal opinions get in the way?

Here are some things you can do to become a better direct-mail client:

  • Reduce the review process. The fewer people who are involved, the better. At most, the mailing should be checked by the communications manager, the product manager and a technical expert (for accuracy).
  • Resist the temptation to meddle. Point out technical inaccuracies and other mistakes. But don’t dictate the piece’s content, tone, or style.
  • Make a commitment to judge direct mail not by what you like or by aesthetics, but by results—which can be measured accurately and scientifically.
  • Become more educated in direct mail by reading books. I recommend “Successful Direct Marketing” by Bob Stone (NTC Business Books, Chicago, Ill. (800) 323-4900; 496 pp.; $29.95) as a good place to start.
  • Know what’s going on in the industry. Subscribe to at least one of the direct marketing magazines: Direct Marketing, Zip Target Marketing, DM Nexus. Also, keep in touch with industry developments by reading the more broadly based marketing publications, such as Business Marketing and Advertising Age.
  • If you challenge your direct mail pros, be willing to spend for a test. In direct mail, the answer to “Which concept is best?” is the same as the answer to the question, “Which mailing piece pulled best?”

Because nobody can argue with results.

Article adapted from R.W. Bly.

If you’re looking for marketing, promotion or print ideas then give one of the TPH team a call. We’re happy to offer you some of NZ’s best print and promotional angles, that will capture your clients attention.
Targeting your clients with mail.

The 12 Most Common Mistakes With Direct Mail (Part 1 of 2)

In an ever increasing digital world, Direct Mail is still one of the most effective methods for getting your message across. Over the next few weeks we will look at where mailouts fail and what you can do to ensure success. This is the first of 4 blogs that addresses the common mistakes made using Direct Mail – and includes suggestions on “How you can avoid them”. (This is an adapted article from B.Bly –

Mistake No. 1: Ignoring the most important factor in direct mail success.
Do you know what the most important part of your direct mail campaign is? It’s not the copy. It’s not the art work. It’s not even the format or when you mail. It is the mailing list.

A great mailing package, with superior copy and scintillating design, might pull double the response of a poorly conceived mailing. But the best list can pull a response 10 times more than the worst list for the identical mailing piece.

The most common direct-mail mistake is not spending enough time and effort up-front, when you select—and then test—the right lists.
Remember: In direct marketing, a mailing list is not just a way of reaching your market. It is the market.
The best list available to you is your “house” list—a list of customers and prospects who previously bought from you or responded to your ads, public relations campaign, or other mailings. Typically, your house list will pull double the response of an outside list. Yet, only 50% of business marketers I’ve surveyed capture and use customer and prospect names for mailing purposes.
When renting outside lists, get your ad agency or list broker involved in the early stages. The mailing piece should not be written and designed until after the right lists have been identified and selected.

Mistake No. 2: Not testing.
Big consumer mailers test all the time. Publisher’s Clearinghouse tests just about everything…even (I hear) the slant of the indicia on the outer envelope. Business-to-business marketers, on the other hand, seldom track response or test one mailing piece or list against another. As a result, they repeat their failures and have no idea of what works in direct mail—and what doesn’t. A mistake. In direct mail, you should not assume you know what will work. You should test to find out. For example, copywriter Milt Pierce wrote a subscription package for Good Housekeeping magazine. His mailing became the “control” package for 25 years. That is, no package tested against it brought back as many subscriptions.

The envelope teaser and theme of that successful mailing was “32 Ways to Save Time and Money.” Yet, Mr. Pierce says that when he applied the same theme to subscription mailings for other magazines—Science Digest, Popular Mechanics, House Beautiful—it failed miserably. “There are no answers in direct mail except test answers,” says Eugene Schwartz, author of the book, Break-through Advertising. “You don’t know whether something will work until you test it. And you cannot predict test results based on past experience.”

Mistake No. 3: Not using a letter in your mailing package.
The sales letter—not the outer envelope, the brochure, or even the reply form—is the most important part of your direct-mail package.
A package with a letter will nearly always outpull a postcard, a self-mailer, or a brochure or ad reprint mailed without a letter.
Recently, a company tested two packages offering, for $1, a copy of its mail-order tool catalog. Package “A” consisted of a sales letter and reply form. Package “B” was a double post-card. The result? “A” out pulled “B” by a 3-to-1 ratio.

Why do letters pull so well? Because a letter creates the illusion of personal communication. We are trained to view letters as “real” mail, brochures as “advertising.” Which is more important to you? One recommendation I often give clients is to try an old-fashioned sales letter first. Go to a fancier package once you start making some money.

Mistake No. 4: Features vs. Benefits.
Perhaps the oldest and most widely embraced rule for writing direct-mail copy is, “Stress benefits, not features.” But in business-to-business marketing, that doesn’t always hold true.
In certain situations, features must be given equal (if not top) billing over benefits.

For example, if you’ve ever advertised semiconductors, you know that design engineers are hungry for specs. They want hard data on drain-source, voltage, power dissipation, input capacitance, and rise-and-fall time…not broad advertising claims about how the product helps save time and money or improves performance.
“I’ve tested many mailings selling engineering components and products to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers),” says Don Jay Smith, president of the Chatham, NJ-based ad agency The Wordsmith. “I’ve found that features and specs outpull benefits almost every time.” Vivian Sudhalter, Director of Marketing for New York-based Macmillan Software Co., agrees.
“Despite what tradition tells you,” says Ms. Sudhalter, “the engineering and scientific marketplace does not respond to promise—or benefit—oriented copy. They respond to features. Your copy must tell them exactly what they are getting and what your product can do. Scientists and engineers are put off by copy that sounds like advertising jargon.”

In the same way, I suspect that doctors are swayed more by hard medical data than by advertising claims, and that industrial chemists are eager to learn about complex formulations that the average advertising writer might reject as “too technical.” In short, the copywriter’s real challenge is to find out what the customer wants to know about your product—and then tell him in your mailing.

Mistake No. 5: Not having an offer.
An offer is what the reader gets when he responds to your mailing.
To be successful, a direct-mail package should sell the offer, not the product itself. For example, if I mail a letter describing a new mainframe computer, my letter is not going to do the whole job of convincing people to buy my computer. But the letter is capable of swaying some people to at least show interest by requesting a free brochure about the computer.
Make sure you have a well-thought-out offer in every mailing. If you think the offer and the way you describe it are unimportant, you are wrong. A free-lance copywriter friend of mine ran an ad in the Wall Street Journal that offered a free portfolio of article reprints about direct mail. He received dozens of replies. Then he ran an identical ad, but charged $3 for the portfolio instead of giving it away. Number of responses that time? Only three.

Here are some effective offers for industrial direct mail: free brochure, free technical information, free analysis, free consultation, free demonstration, free trial use, free product sample, free catalog. Your copy should state the offer in such a way as to increase the reader’s desire to send for whatever it is you offer. For example, a catalog becomes a product guide. A collection of brochures becomes a free information kit. A checklist becomes a convention planner’s guide. An article reprinted in pamphlet form becomes “our new, informative booklet—‘How to Prevent Computer Failures.’”
From now on, design your fulfillment literature with titles and information that will make them work well as offers in direct mail. When one of my clients decided to publish a catalog listing US software programs available for export overseas, I persuaded her to call the book “The International Directory of U.S. Software,” because I thought people would think such a directory was more valuable than a mere product catalog.

Mistake No. 6: Superficial copy.
Nothing kills the selling power of a business-to-business mailing faster than lack of content.
The equivalent in industrial literature is what I call the “art director’s brochure.” You’ve seen them: showcase pieces destined to win awards for graphic excellence. Brochures so gorgeous that everybody falls in love with them—until they wake up and realize that people send for information, not pretty pictures. Which is why typewritten, unillustrated sales brochures can often pull double the response of expensive, four-color work.

In the same way, direct mail is not meant to be pretty. Its goal is not to be remembered or create an image or make an impact, but to generate a response now. One of the quickest ways to kill that response is to be superficial. To talk in vague generalities, rather than specifics. To ramble without authority on a subject, rather than show customers that you understand their problems, their industries, and their needs.

What causes superficial copy? The fault lays with lazy copywriters who don’t bother to do their homework (or ignorant copywriters who don’t know any better). To write strong copy—specific, factual copy—you must dig for facts. You must study the product, the prospect, and the marketing problem. There is no way around this. Without facts, you cannot write good copy. But with the facts at their fingertips, even mediocre copywriters can do a decent job.

Don Hauptman, author of the famous mail-order ad, “Speak Spanish Like a Diplomat!,” says that when he writes a direct-mail package, more than 50% of the work involved is in the reading, research, and preparation. Less than half his time is spent writing, rewriting, editing, and revising.

Recently a client hired me to write an ad on a software package. After reading the background material and typing it into my word processor, I had 19 single-spaced pages of notes. How much research is enough? Follow Bly’s Rule, which says you should collect at least twice as much information as you need—preferably three times as much. Then you have the luxury of selecting only the best facts, instead of trying desperately to find enough information to fill up the page.

Mistake No. 7: Saving the best for last.
Some copywriters save their strongest sales pitch for last, starting slow in their sales letters and hoping to build to a climactic conclusion. This is a mistake.

Leo Bott, Jr., a Chicago-based mail-order writer, says that the typical prospect reads for five seconds before he decides whether to continue reading or throw your mailing in the trash. The letter must grab his attention immediately. So start your letter with your strongest sales point.

Some examples of powerful openings:
• “Which produces the best ad results—800 phone number? company phone? coupon? no coupon?”—from a letter selling ad space in Salesman’s Opportunity magazine.
• “14 things that can go wrong in your company—and one sure way to prevent them”—an envelope teaser for a mailing that sold a manual on internal auditing procedures.
• “A special invitation to the hero of American business”—from a subscription letter for Inc. magazine.
• “Can 193,750 millionaires be wrong?”—an envelope teaser for a subscription mailing for Financial World magazine.
• “Dear Friend: I’m fed up with the legal system. I want to change it, and I think you do, too.”—the lead paragraph of a fund-raising letter.
Some time-tested opening gambits for sales letters include:
• asking a provocative question;
• going straight to the heart of the reader’s most pressing problem or concern;
• arousing curiosity;
• leading off with a fascinating fact or incredible statistic; and
• Stating the offer up-front, especially if it involves money; saving it, getting something for an incredibly low price, or making a free offer.
Know the “hot spots” of your direct mail package—the places that get the most readership. Those include: the first paragraphs of the letter, its subheads, its last paragraph and the post-script (80% of readers look at the PS); the brochure cover, its subheads and the headline of its inside spread; picture captions; and the headline and copy on the order form or reply card. Put your strongest selling copy in those spots.

Check out for Part 2 of 2…

Targeting your clients with mail.

Five ‘Need To Know’ Statistics About Direct Mail…

“It’s all about content marketing… yet while everyone is engaged in content on the web, the fact is that direct mail marketing is still one of the most powerful tools—secrets—available,” says James Ravetti, regarding direct mail.

Some mind-boggling statistics about direct mail include:

1. 18- to 34-year-olds prefer direct mail. When we think about young adults, it’s easy to think of a generation that’s enamored with the internet and all-things-digital. The reality is, however, that this age group actually prefers learning about products and services via direct mail. According to Forbes, direct mail is still alive and kicking and young adults are some of the best targets for lead conversion.

2. Most marketers don’t know how to engage in direct mail campaign. With so much focus on digital advertising, most marketers mistakenly believe that direct mail is a waste of time. And even if marketers acknowledge its power, they don’t have the experience to effectively engage in a campaign. So what does this mean? The result is that there isn’t much competition in direct mail. Depending on your industry, it’s most likely that your competitors are focusing strictly on lead conversion online or through other traditional methods while ignoring direct mail.

3. ROI is highest for direct mail campaigns. According to a recent study published by Target Marketing Magazine, the highest scoring form of marketing for B2C and B2B marketers was direct mail. It boasted a higher ROI and contact retention than social media marketing. Albeit, social media is still an evolving platform, but the power of direct mail cannot be denied.

4. Response rates can reach as high as 6.5 percent. On average direct mail naturally has an incredible response rate of 2 percent. However, this lead conversion statistic can be drastically improved through personal mailing or color print campaigns. If direct mail is optimized, response rates typically average around 6.5 percent. Compare this to an average of 0.12 percent for email.

5. Direct mail composes 52.7 percent of the national marketing budget. Collectively, marketers in every industry spent 52.7 percent of the annual marketing expenditure on direct mail. This means that despite the prevalence of social media, certain industries such as the automobile industry still rely on direct mail for lead conversion. However, it also means that direct mail is one of the most expensive forms of marketing. Businesses should carefully strategize their direct mail campaign to optimize their lead conversion and achieve the most bang for their buck.
While content marketing has gained prevalence online, it’s crucial to remember that content isn’t limited to the online world. With the clear benefits that direct mail has to offer and the fact that many businesses are ignoring it, what’s holding you back?

Excerpt from post by James Ravetti. See the full article at

Deluxe sandwiches become a 'Serious' business.

A ‘Serious’ Start-up Success Story

Mischa Bolton shows how having an excellent product and the use of strong promotional collateral can be a ‘serious success’!

On 22nd Feb 2011, many Cantabrians had their lives turned upside down. Mischa Bolton was one of those people. With his part-time chef position suddenly redundant, he had to quickly revise plans. He looked at setting up a restaurant – but with suitable property now a scarce commodity, Mischa had to explore other options.

Mischa had always liked the idea of opening up a gourmet sandwich shop. both timing and an opportune location, convinced him to give it a go, and the serious sandwich was opened at The Colombo in late 2011.

With a menu of only 7 sandwiches and a salad option, Mischa was able to keep his branding and advertising very focused. Promotions have included loyalty cards, full colour dle flyers with pictures of the mouth- watering sandwiches, some special deals on Treat-Me and a full colour picture menu.

“The photos and imagery in full colour are really important for us. We try to keep everything black and white when it comes to branding, so having great-looking glossy photos of the sandwiches helps communicate what we’re about.” In the last 12 months, Mischa has also launched a food truck version and pop-up store as part of the serious sandwich suite of stores.

“We’re simply building on the brand and promotional material that we already use and extending the method of food and service delivery. We have regular clients that come back each week. one guy who regularly flys into Christchurch on business, makes serious sandwich one of his priorities – every time he’s in town.”

Franchising won’t be too far away, and with an excellent product, good branding and strong promotional collateral, we can expect to see more serious sandwiches in New Zealand – and abroad.

Fabulous 2014 Fundraising Calendars for Child Cancer Foundation in Christchurch.

People LOVE Calendars…

…and this latest calendar fundraiser project for the Child Cancer Foundation is no exception. Fantastic imagery and an excellently finished product have the Child Cancer Foundation set for another worthwhile fundraising drive.

Kelly Sutherland (who initially researched the costings for this project) found The Production House online and simply requested a quote for their Calendars. Grant Upjohn (Christchurch Branch Chairman) and Penny Nichols (Photographer) then met with the TPH office to clarify the quote.

“We had sourced pricing from all around NZ – which initially concerned us. TPH’s pricing was so much cheaper than all the others. But on meeting the team and seeing other samples of their work, those concerns were soon put to rest.” says Grant.

TPH were then given the go-ahead and proceeded to design / lay up the calendar with the supplied images and logos. Adele Little, Production Coordinator for TPH then liased with the Foundations Head Office in Auckland to ensure branding and colour consistency, and coordinated ‘sign off’ with all parties involved. Adele comments, “The result is one of the most heart- warming calendars I’ve seen yet.”

Grant said the whole production process had been very smooth. “We’re really impressed with the whole service from day one with the TPH team. And the final result… we were over the moon with!”

The calendars are on sale from October 2013. All money raised enables the Canterbury Branch of the Child Cancer Foundation to provide on-going support to children and families affected by childhood cancer. Please support this worthwhile cause by ordering yours (only $20) by emailing


90% of respondants “could not imagine living without a letterbox”

How effective is Direct Mail? A 2013 Consumer Research into consumers’ attitudes to brands’ printed marketing, has revealed that 79 per cent of consumers act on direct mail immediately, confirming the power of printed material.

The research (part of “From letterbox to inbox 2013″) also found that a greater percentage of people visited a brand’s website in response to direct mail than responded to an email. Nearly half those surveyed said they had retained printed items.

According to the findings, consumers regard direct mail and other printed communications as being essential to their overall experience of brands of which they’re customers or in which they’re interested.

Respondents also highlighted the essential role direct mail plays within their lives as consumers, with 56% saying they found printed marketing to be the “most trustworthy” of media channels.

Rachel Aldighieri, Director of Communications and Insight at the DMA commented “People continue to value direct mail and printed communications from brands, finding that it plays a seamless role within their connected worlds, offers some qualities not found in other comms and is an essential part of the overall ‘brand experience’.”

“Many people today easily could choose to conduct their lives entirely online, but they don’t. For brands to market effectively in a truly connected world, they must fully recognise the role that print comms play and will continue to play for many years to come.”

90% say that they ‘could not imagine living without a letterbox’ and one in five (20%) believe that printed communications will never be replaced entirely by digital, compared to just one in 10 (9%) of people aged 55 or older.

David Cole, MD of fast.MAP, commented, saying;

Direct mail is twice more likely to engender trust than email. Post is also seen as more memorable and authoritative, whereas email provides the ease of response and the ability to share. We can therefore see how direct mail can then lay the foundation to make the role of email as a tool for response work much harder.”

*The findings were part of From letterbox to inbox 2013, an attitudinal print tracking study of 1,232 UK adults conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and fast.MAP. All respondents completed an online questionnaire comprising 28 questions. For the original article visit