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Business Cards made from 390gsm Coaster Board. Awesome!

NEW Business Card Printing Stock by NZ’s Leading Online Printers of Business Cards

Have you ever been in a bar and placed your ice cold drink on one of those thick promotional card coasters? The ones that have that super soft cardboard feel and usually stick to the bottom of your glass when you pick it up?

Well, this stock is BRILLIANT as a retro – recycled style business card (plus it doubles as your own personal printed coaster!) We started printing these business cards in Christchurch only 3 months ago and our clients love them. The 390gsm coaster board is a whooping 900 um thick (thats like sticking 2 of our super thick n chunky laminated business cards together). With a slight texture, environmentally friendly and luxuriously thick this is ideal for clients wanting something different. It features a subtle fine grain with one side slightly smoother than the other. Really effective for one colour printing.

For more info and pricing on this new business card product, simply visit;

However, if this isn’t your style of business card, then make sure you check out our other full colour business card options and order a FREE sample pack of business cards.

…or contact us on 0800 533 677.

Brochure printing from NZ's Leading Online Print Store

Printing A4 Brochures Online in NZ & Getting the Best Deal…

Brochure Printing in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch – NZ and how to find the best deal. Finding the best offer on printing brochures from online brochure print companies in AKL, WGTN, CHCH & New Zealand can be very time-consuming. You want to know that you’re getting the best value for money – with a great finish and feel without breaking the bank. You also want to know that your brochure design suits the stock you have your brochure printed on and with a lot of companies printing brochures in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington as well as throughout NZ, sometimes the best deal is not right on your doorstep. We also see many companies try to sell people thousands of printed brochures (that they will probably never get through) when you may only need a few hundred brochures to promote to you customer base. And then there’s the question of which size is best? A3, A4, A5, A4 folded to DLE, A4 folded to A5, or maybe a simple DL flyer or rackcard may be more economical?

At | NZ’s leading online print store we make sure that there are brochure options that will suit almost every business (and their wallet).

First and foremost we have free brochure templates available for you (or your brochure designer) to download from our site and then drop your artwork on to. These are found at;

Using our templates will help ensure that your design fits the print area and allows you to see where the brochure will get folded (if you’re getting folds).

Here’s some tips to follow when choosing what look , feel and pricetag you are wanting when printing promotional brochures or corporate brochures for your business. These tips are primarily for A4 printed brochures folded to DL.

1. If you’re wanting a brochure that has a reasonable weight and durability, then anything around 150gsm is usually best. Art stocks that are under 135gsm will normally have show-through issues. This is when the image from the other side “shows through and makes it harder to read text or see images as clearly. This is especially noticeable when you are outside or in extremely well lit areas.

2. Cost of your brochures will be dependant on the weight of the stock used. That is why many of the pizza circulars you see come thru the letter box are extremely light weight – to keep the cost down – and they’re designed as a throw-away item. At TPH we have a range of brochures that are printed on 130 – 170gsm stock at extremely good rates. This means you get a quality printed brochure for less.

3. If you’re wanting to have you brochures folded down to a smaller size – then it’s best to not go over 150gsm in weight. Any stocks over 150gsm will normally require creasing before folding which can incur additional setup charges or even an additional process for some printers. Be aware that some 150gsm stocks can be thicker than others (eg. straight offset stocks are thicker than art stock) and may crack along the fold edge. This becomes very obvious where there is solid colour along the edge of the fold.

4. If cost is a factor for you, then consider simplifying your brochure down to fit on 2 sides of a DL (one third of an A4). That way you can get 3 times the number of flyers or brochures that you would if it was all on one A4.

5. If you’re planning on having your brochure stand up in racks or brochure holders, remember that gravity will be at work, and if your stock is too thin – it’s likely that your brochure will begin to bend / curl. A4 brochures folded to DL are usually fine when printed on 130gsm+ stock. If you’re only printing a single DL brochure/flyer (usually called a rackcard), we suggest you make sure the stock weight is around 300gsm.

6. Some brochures or single sided rackcards look great when they are laminated – however, if they are placed in the sun – you may find they begin to curl over, even when printed on heavier stock.

7. At TPH our brochure printing happens in Christchurch, Wellington or Auckland (and even offshore) depending on the needs of the client, the quantities or processes requested, and the timeframe.

For some of the best rates on Brochure Printing online in NZ make sure you visit;

You can also check out how brochures are actually produced by watching a quick video on how a brochure gets ordered, printed, folded and packed.

- more to follow…

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;



Which Business Card is right for your NZ business?

When people are wanting business cards, the choice of business cards available (and who to get them from) can be quite daunting. Which business card is right for my business? What is the right sort of stock? Why does the cost seem to vary so much? What about these cheap business cards online that I see advertised? Should I have printed information on the back of the card? Is it worth paying a little bit extra to get my business cards laminated?

Having been involved with providing business cards throughout New Zealand for nearly twenty years, I’ve written down some suggestions which I hope will help with the decision making process. Searching NZ Business Cards will reveal a range of suppliers of business cards around NZ. Whether you’re looking for “business cards online”, “business cards nz” or even locally with “business cards auckland” etc. the list of printers will be long and varied.

Some companies will only supply digital business cards. These are fine for short runs of up to 500 and usually relatively quick to turnaround. The downside includes the limitation of stock thickness and whether you’re wanting extras such as foiled or embossed cards. Because digital print can move slightly from sheet to sheet – it is a lot harder to get a foil, diecut or emboss finish in the exact place each time on a digital card.

Other companies will offer business cards that are printed using commercial offset presses. This will normally allow a far wider and thicker range stock to go through the machine, resulting in a heavier, solid card on a variety of stocks that won’t dog-ear in your pocket or wallet as easily. But at the same time it does mean that you’ve had to wait a few days longer than the digital option and you’re likely to pay more for these cards, especially if they are being printed on their own (ie. not in conjunction with any other business cards). These cards are more suited to extra finishes such as foil or embossing and will more likely result in a higher quality premium finish. Ideal for those specialty stock runs where you are not limited to the stock weight or texture of the board, in comparison to digital work. Also best for companies that have specific Pantone colours that they wish to stick with.

A third option will be companies that offer “gang printing” or “group printed” business cards. Although these companies may not say that their cards are printed together with other  print runs, they can often result in a high quality offset print run, turned around in 2-3 days and at less than half the cost of a standard commercial offset business card. Cards will normally be limited to a choice of 2-3 specific stocks with the option of uncoated, matt or gloss laminate (either on one or both sides). These cards will be printed using a CMYK process and are not designed to be Pantone Colour accurate. These cards will not normally allow for additional finishes either…

…unless you’re using The Production House.

At we offer all three options for printing business cards. In fact, we probably have the largest range of business card on offer in NZ. Whats-more, we have additional options of spot silver, foil, embossing die-cutting and hole drilling as part of our group printed product range. So whether you’re wanting a thick and chunky business card for under $100, or you’re needing some quick business cards, or you want a top end look and feel with the extras, I would suggest checking out what has to offer.

And here’s a few additional points to consider…

• If you write estimates or notes on the back of your business card then look at getting a card that is laminated only on the front.

• If you have a bright colourful image on the front, then a gloss laminated business card will make the colours more bold and punchy – whereas a matt laminate will soften the colours and look of the image.

• If you’re a builder, truckie or someone who usually has dirt on your hands, then a double sided laminated card is probably best for you. This way any fingerprint marks will be easily wiped off – where a single sided laminated card will hold the finger prints… and a dbl sided laminated card is also stronger and less likely to dog-ear.

• A touch of foil or a simple rounded corner will make your card a lot more attractive and memorable, especially if you’re in the design or higher end market.

A free sample swatch of all the core business cards (including one mentioned above) can be requested from -

There is also a range of online printing templates for you to simply drop your design on to.

So the next time you’re searching online for NZ printers or NZ printing companies, make sure you check out what sort of printer they are and whether their print options are limited or they can offer you an adequate range of printing options.

Article by Nigel Matthews.



TPH prints stickers and labels for businesses throughout NZ.

Stickers and Labels NZ

When we’re printing labels / stickers for NZ businesses we like to make sure we understand our clients sticker needs and what they plan to do with the stickers – or rather where and how they will be stuck. Not all labels are created equal, so differing sticker or label stocks will suit specific situations.

Did you know… many New Zealand sticker or label stocks take 24 hours to fully cure. So, for example, if you were wanting to put a label on a shiny plastic bag (ie. a flexible surface) – it will be better to have the bag sit flat for 24 hours after applying the sticker (or use an industrial adhesive) to quicken the adhesion, so that the label doesn’t simply lift away as the bag is  used.

You can find a number of our sticker or label products here;

Stickers or labels come in different styles / finishes and with different adhesives. Here’s just a few of the sticker terms and types of labels that a client might need and what results they will achieve.

Permanent Labels.  These can be either paper or synthetic based. The ‘permanent’ refers to the standard permanent adhesive we use. Permanent labels can usually be repositioned within a few minutes but the longer you leave it (and if they are paper based) then the harder it is to remove them from the applied surface. These stickers will usually fully cure with 24 hours. Paper labels will then normally shred if any attempt is made to remove them.

If you are looking for a sticker in New Zealand that can be removed then we recommend either ‘removable’ label stock or running with a permanent adhesive on a vinyl / synthetic stock. Synthetic stocks will be a little more forgiving and be able to be removed while not destroying the sticker.

Removeable Labels. This stock will continue to remain removeable in most situations, however they can end up peeling off without assistance depending on the surface they are applied to.

Freezer Grade Stickers. This label stock is designed specifically for cold, damp environments and is a slightly stronger adhesive.

Splitback (or crack-back) Stickers. This refers to the backing of the label stock having cuts (usually several) spaced evenly apart (at approx. 50mm intervals), on the back of the sticker sheet. This allows for easy peeling by cracking the back along the split and then peeling the one side before peeling the other.

Solidback Stickers. There are no splits on the back. We use this stock where the client requires a single split on the front of the label stock (usually along one edge of the artwork with a tab) to make peeling easier.

Synthetic Labels. Ideal for outdoors, this type of stock usually comes with a stronger permanent adhesive and is waterproof. We have a synthetic stock that we can print onto digitally, allowing short-run orders and very quick turnarounds.

Pre-kisscut Stickers. These are usually A4 sheets of label stock that have been pre-cut (only on the front – not the backing stock) for a specific size. We hold a variety of square, rectangle and circle sizes which we can print digitally, allowing for quick, short print runs.

If you have any questions on what type of label or sticker will best suit your needs, please feel free to contact one of our team on 0800 533 677 or visit;




Great talent at this years 2014 Behance Portfolio Review.

Earlier this month, design students and professionals attended the 2014 Behance Portfolio Review. For those of you not moving in the design industry circle, The Behance Portfolio Review Week has been created (as stated on their website) : ‘to bring our thriving online community into offline spaces, where creatives can sit side by side, sharing their work and developing their craft. These events provide invaluable exposure for creatives, as well as the chance to learn new tricks of the trade from their peers and our experienced guest speakers.’

This years local Portfolio Review was to present and get feedback on designers work (whether training or in the workforce), hear from industry guest speakers, and socialise with members of the local creative community.

TPH Print Managing Director, Dave Bascand, was one of six industry representatives invited to attend and review the works of 14 upcoming design professionals, including students from Yoobee School of Design.

The lineup of work ranged from online multimedia thru to printed collateral and portfolio pieces, and a big thing was made of the evening, with the presentation of medals.

“Some of the students were already designing at a very high standard that would earn them solid employment.”, comments Dave. ”Print was very predominant in the design aspects. The main areas for improvement were in typography – too small a font size (especially in annual reports), tight margins with a lack of space and overuse of white text on black that – for bulk text, this made it very hard to read.”

Dave noticed a theme with some of the work. “A lot of geometric designs and shapes, such as making objects or animals out of triangles”.

“It was great to see one designer using simple freehand drawn sketches and then scanning and colourising them.”

According to Dave Bascand, overall, we can expect to see a high standard of design talent entering (or continuing) the NZ Design Industry, which will help us continue to see great Design and Print NZ work.


(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…

paper microscope

The 50 Cent Punch-out paper Microscope!

If you’re not followers of TEDtalks, then you should be. This article really shows the ability that a little design ingenuity can make, with paper.

Perhaps you’ve punched out a paper doll, folded an origami swan, or maybe you received one of The Production House’s die-cut “Captain Print push-out Competition Cards”? TED Fellow Manu Prakash and his team have created a microscope made of paper (yes, you heard correctly, paper!) that’s just as easy to fold and use. A sparkling demo that shows how this invention could revolutionize healthcare in developing countries … and turn almost anything into a fun, hands-on science experiment.

Makes you start to wonder what device you could design that would help you do your job, or impact your sphere of influence.


Captain Print Competition Card. Get yours FREE at

Captain Print is born…

“In a world where print has become a dying art, a world where people believe just having a website is the answer to all your business promotions, there is one crusader that champions the cause to a better, more successful way to promoting your business – lifting the benchmark and delivering cost effective high quality promotions to businesses and clients throughout the land. That person is Captain Print!”

Can you just imagine that as the opening soundbite to a major motion picture?

We could, but we’ve decided to hold back on the soundtrack and movie royalties, and instead give you the opportunity to win tickets to the latest Captain America – Winter Soldier movie – out today.

Simply grab yourself one of our competition cards with Captain Print and his Super Shield (you can order them here for FREE at ) and show us your shooting skills, by taking a short video of your abilities, and emailing it through to OR design a hero/villian and send it through and you’re in to win a double pass to the movie. There’s one given away each week from 11th April until 30th May. We’ll then decide on the best entry and give the Grand Winner a $100 print credit.

The competition card is a print promotion that has been designed inhouse by The Production House, printed full colour on 350gsm artboard and then die-cut using a custom designed die. To help the pieces stay as part of the A4 card small ‘knicks’ are made on the die-forme to keep the push out pieces in place. The diecuts and creases are all achieved in one hit, allowing us to fold the card down to DL size, making it cost effective to mail out. The result is a simple but clever direct mail promotion.

So what other adventures are planned for Captain Print? Watch this space.