Green arrows in a circular pattern

Want to Be More Sustainable? Embrace Circular Design

In recent years, circular design has gained traction in many industries, including printing and packaging. Circular design aims to minimize waste and maximize the lifespan of products by following the principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle. Not only can embracing circular design lead to significant environmental benefits, but it can result in operational efficiencies, too.


Let’s explore how circular design impacts different aspects of the printing and packaging process.


  1. Ethical Sourcing

Circular design begins with ethical sourcing practices. This involves using materials that are sustainably and responsibly sourced. For printing and packaging, this means using paper and other materials from certified sustainable sources, such as forests managed to high conservation and social standards. Ethical sourcing also includes ensuring fair labor practices throughout the supply chain.


  1. Print Production

In print production, circular design encourages using eco-friendly printing technologies and practices. This includes using energy-efficient printing equipment, vegetable-based inks, and printing on recycled or FSC-certified paper. Additionally, digital printing technologies can reduce waste by allowing on-demand printing and customization, minimizing excess inventory and waste.


  1. Delivery and Distribution

Circular design extends to the delivery and distribution of printed materials. Opt for local or regional printing facilities to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation.


  1. Packing and Transportation

Efficient packing and transportation are crucial to circular design in printing and packaging. This includes optimizing packaging sizes to minimize wasted space, using reusable or recyclable packaging materials, and choosing transportation methods that reduce emissions.


  1. Recovery

One of the fundamental principles of circular design is the recovery of materials at the end of their lifecycle. In the printing and packaging industry, this involves promoting recycling programs for paper, cardboard, and other packaging materials. Design packaging for easy disassembly and recycling to help close the loop on materials and reduce waste.


By considering these five circular design principles, you can go a long way toward designing marketing and packaging projects that are environmentally friendly. As a bonus, because they involve reducing waste, these principles can often save you money, too. So be good to the earth– and your bottom line, too!

Want to Keep Your Customers Loyal? Do This!

Did you know that loyal customers purchase more frequently, have larger basket sizes, and are more receptive to upsells? It’s no wonder two-thirds of most businesses’ sales come from existing customers.[1] Once you win those customers, you want to keep them!


Here are four steps to keeping your customers happy and engaged with you.


  1. Data changes — keep it up to date.

How do you keep your customers engaged with targeted, relevant communications when their addresses are outdated and the rest of their data is incomplete? You can’t. For example, do you know that Bud Jones replaced Stan Walker at ABC Manufacturing after Stan retired last month? Or that Susan Jones got married and is now Susan Becker? Regularly, take the time to make sure that your contacts’ names, addresses, and preferences are accurate and up to date.


  1. Keep that data private.

Customers are willing to share personal information with their favorite brands in exchange for more relevant, targeted offers. Still, they also want to ensure their data is kept private. Assure your customers that you follow all applicable laws and that they can trust you.


  1. Keep their cross-channel experiences consistent.

No matter how customers interact with you—direct mail, email, mobile, and website—ensure that your branding, messaging, and offers are consistent across all marketing channels you use. After all, more than half (61%) of buyers start shopping on one device and finish on another.[2] Cross-channel consistency tells buyers that you are professional, trustworthy, and credible.


  1. Use segments to ensure that offers and messaging are targeted and relevant.

While personalizing messaging, images, and offers to each recipient is the holy grail of marketing, you can deeply engage those recipients by grouping them into segments. This is where creating “personas” becomes so important. Think “Millennial women climbing the corporate ladder” or “single dads who work from home.”


Customer loyalty is a powerful driver of business success, so focus on retaining these valuable relationships. By following these four pillars of customer loyalty, you can strengthen your customer bond, increase satisfaction and loyalty, and ultimately, increase revenue growth.


[1] Consumer Research Institute
[2] “The Best Customer Experience Starts with Data” (TransUnion)

Got Value? Find It, Market It, Reap the Profits

A well-defined business value proposition is crucial for attracting and retaining customers. This proposition communicates a company’s unique benefits and value, setting it apart from competitors.


Here are some ordinary value propositions from famous brands:


Apple: “Think different.” Apple’s value proposition is centered around innovation, design, and user experience.

Amazon: “Earth’s most customer-centric company.” Amazon’s value proposition is built on convenience, selection, and customer service.

Nike: “Just do it.” Nike’s value proposition is about inspiring and empowering athletes of all levels to reach their full potential.


A value proposition does more than say what makes the company great. It helps customers envision themselves differently — as a technology leader, as being in control of their spending, of reaching their full athletic potential.


Value propositions can be compelling when trying to differentiate from a competitor. Let’s take two well-known battles of the brands: Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi and McDonald’s vs. Burger King.


Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi: Coca-Cola and Pepsi offer similar products—carbonated soft drinks. However, their brand propositions are different. Coca-Cola’s value proposition is centered around happiness, nostalgia, and sharing moments of joy, as evidenced by its iconic campaigns such as “Share a Coke.” In contrast, Pepsi’s value proposition is more youthful and energetic, often focusing on celebrity endorsements and pop culture references.


McDonald’s vs. Burger King: McDonald’s and Burger King offer fast-food burgers and fries, but their brand propositions differ. McDonald’s value proposition is centered around convenience, consistency, and affordability, with slogans like “I’m lovin’ it.” Burger King’s value proposition emphasizes customization and flame-grilled flavor, as seen in its “Have it Your Way” campaign. By highlighting a different value proposition, Burger King has been able to differentiate itself from McDonald’s and attract its own loyal customers.


In both examples, the brands don’t try to go head to head with the same value proposition. Instead, they carve out unique value propositions that position themselves differently in the same market.


What is your value proposition? How do you use it to differentiate from competitors in your space?



Figures being attracted to a magnet

5 Tips for Boosting Your Donor Retention Rate

The average donor retention rate for nonprofits is between 40% and 45%. That means for every 100 donors you have, only 40-45 will donate the following year. But what if you could retain more of them? Imagine the impact on your mission!


The key to retaining donors is keeping them engaged with your mission. Whether you feed the hungry or support childhood education, the more you keep donors connected, the more likely they are to continue giving.


Here are five proven ways to do that:


  1. Send an immediate thank you.

Donors want to know that their giving is appreciated and that it makes a difference. When people give online, for example, do more than send an automated “thank you.” Send a follow-up direct mail piece with images of their donation dollars at work. Ask them to opt into your e-newsletter to keep them engaged with the progress of your mission.


  1. Keep them informed.

Printed newsletters are a great way to deepen donors’ investment in what you are doing. They provide more space to “dive deep” into projects, introduce donors to people behind the scenes, and give voice to the people and communities positively impacted by their generosity.


  1. Ask questions.

When you ask donors’ opinions, it makes them feel valued. It also keeps them invested in your mission. Tell them you want to hear from them. “Where would you like to see more resources invested? Please select your top three.” Or, “Tell us how we’re doing.” Ask questions about what you do well and what could be improved.


  1. Invest in a recurring giving program.

Do your donors have the option to make an automatic recurring gift? If not, this is something you should look into. Research shows that recurring donors are retained at a level of 90%.


  1. Clean up your data.

Don’t let donors slip away because they moved or changed email addresses, and you lost contact with them. People change email addresses like they change their favorite clothes. People also move, change jobs, and make other changes that require updates to your physical mailing list.


Donors are the lifeblood of your mission, so keep them curious, excited, and invested in what you are doing. Maintain a consistent communication cadence and make donors feel as vital as they are!



Woman standing in front of a shelf of products

5 Surprising Ways to Market with Packaging

Packaging is one of your most essential marketing tools if you sell products on the retail shelf. When buyers decide between two products, labels and packaging can be the deciding factor. When buyers plan to purchase one product, great labels and packaging can entice them to buy another.


Gatefolds of various styles sitting on a desk

Creative Gatefolds That Get Attention

Want to get your customers’ attention? Incorporate creative folds that add dimension and interest. Gatefolds, in particular, are cost-effective tools that add high interest and engagement to your pieces. Whether you are producing marketing collateral, event invitations, or direct mail, these fun, creative folds can repeatedly engage your audience with your marketing content.


Closeup of a drip hitting a surface

What’s Drip Marketing and Why Should You Care?

A strategy of regular, strategically timed communications can have a powerful influence on shopper behavior. That’s why drip marketing is so important. In a drip marketing campaign, the business sends (drips) regular marketing communications, typically through multiple channels, to move a prospect through the sales funnel over time. It uses a combination of direct mail, email, mobile marketing, newsletters, or other content at the appropriate stage of the sales process.


Hands using a phone with email

Email: The Perfect Direct Mail Add-On

Want to increase the effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns? Add a branded email with the same design components as the direct mail piece so that they are part of an integrated campaign. Adding branded email as a secondary touch doubles the customer.


People walking around a donation box with coins.

5 Ways to Maximize Direct Mail for Nonprofits

If you’re a nonprofit, you know how critical direct mail is to your fundraising. In fact, according to MobileCause, donors are three times more likely to give online in response to a direct mail appeal than an email. Here are five tips to maximize your efforts.


Person holding a page of data

For True Personalization, Look Beyond Demographics

As marketers, we have more data at our fingertips than ever. Data is all around us, from in-house customer information to third-party demographic and behavioral data. However, having more data doesn’t, by itself, generate success. You can personalize your direct mail and email with people’s names, tailored offers, and even customized images and text but still not get the desired results. What’s the secret? Instead of marketing to demographics, market to people.