Confronting the mayhem in Media and Marketing

Glued or Duct Taped Software?

Building a model requires meticulous attention to detail and an abundance of patience. The parts are tiny and have to be assembled in a particular order. Whether building a model car, ship, or train, you glue the pieces together to form a tight bond where one part fuses to the other. Glue gives the right amount of adhesion and is fluid enough to place onto the miniscule pieces.

Duct Tape keeps stuff together too. A roll of this tape is the handy man’s best friend. It’s versatile and can fix almost anything. Contrary to popular belief, Duct Tape is not a permanent fix despite what the driver of that car you just passed on the interstate may think. One would not use Duct Tape to build a model and one would also not use glue to patch the hole in a tent — different application, different results.

Most print shops are taking the Duct Tape approach to using and implementing their business critical software systems. Customers, for numerous reasons, have acquired software to address specific needs in one department with little though to the entire organization. In some cases shops have acquired multiple pieces of the same software that largely functions the same. Web-to-print software is the usual culprit here. Other shops are now faced with the burden of ongoing software development for their custom built solution while an off-the-shelf solution could provide more functionality at a lower total cost of ownership. The result is that the digital plumbing for your shop has many leaks so you try to Duct Tape it. You deal with the redundant data entry points, the workarounds, the incompatible versions, or the lack of one piece of software to communicate with any other.

Your broken digital infrastructure is not entirely your fault. The vendors who write the software have been slow to adopt open architectures probably because they are too focused on their own unified solutions. A recent tweet by Bryan Yeager from this year’s EFI Connect conference mentioned the company’s new push to open up their software through APIs. Hopefully this will be the start of a trend.

Although you probably cannot wipe the slate clean, you can focus on the data exports/imports that may already be a possibility with your existing software. Most packages offer some level of file exchange whether through database queries, XML file, JDF, or similar. You might also find benefit from software that can act as a bridge to link information between other software — Enfocus’ Switch is a good example.

To get the most benefit going forward, from data interchange/integrity to automation, start reaching for the glue instead.


photo credit: puuikibeach

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Your Magic Marketing Worksheet

Do you find it too difficult to keep your finger on the pulse of your industry, your consumers, your competitors, et. al? Or are you a someone manning your permission based, inbound, and social marketing efforts who is always searching for new topics to target?

Now, thanks to SEO Gadget, there is a Google spreadsheet that brings back trending type information for your search term.

Specifically, the worksheet searches:

  • Google & Bing News
  • the most popular results from YouTube, Facebook (via AllThingsNow), Twitter, Digg, & Reddit
  • questions from Yahoo! Answers
  • search trends from Google Insights

You might be thinking cool but so what, right? Here are a few of the more interesting points searching with the term “drupa” revealed.

  • You could have answered Tom’s question “How is the Drupa exhibition useful for designers?” over at Yahoo! Answers.
  • The top four search terms were “drupa 2012″, “drupa 2008″, “drupa düsseldorf”, and “drupa messe” which would be good words to include in your headlines, blog posts, and press releases
  • The most popular item from Digg was from Drupa 2008 – something about a Xerox iGen3
  • According to Topsy, @hpgraphicarts has been the most prolific at mentioning Drupa on Twitter

What do you want to go search for? Local marketing, inbound marketing, small business marketing, digital printing, mobile barcodes, QR Codes, augmented reality, etc? Maybe these terms will lead you to the phrasing your “ideal customer” uses when searching for solution you can provide. Then you just need to create the informational, online breadcrumbs for them to find you.


photo: Minnesota Historical Society

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IMU for You too

Now that the printing industry is more focused on differentiating its offerings many providers are focusing on marketing services. However, marketing is not printing so you will need to brush up on marketing concepts and best practices. There are several online publications you should already be subscribed to such as AdAge, DigiDay, Six Pixels of Separation, SEOMoz, etc.

Hubspot, a leader in permission based marketing services, created a learning and certification tool a while back called Inbound Marketing University. For printers, these online video sessions will cover the basics of permission based and online marketing. At the end, you take an exam and receive a certificate as an “Inbound Marketer.” Those already heavily involved in digital and social marketing might find a lot of the content redundant but there should still be a few sessions to learn from.

Topics Covered

1: How to Blog Effectively for Business
Ann Handley &  Mack Collier, MarketingProfs

2: Crash Course in SEO
Brian Whalley, HubSpot 

3: Social Media & Building Community
Chris Brogan, New Marketing Labs

4: Developing a Keyword Strategy 
Michael Briggs, Website Publicity 

5: Viral Marketing & World Wide Raves
David Meerman Scott New Rules of Marketing & PR

6: Advanced SEO Tactics
Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz

7: Calls to Action & Landing Page Best Practices 
Jeanne Hopkins, HubSpot

8: Inbound Lead Nurturing
Brian Carroll, MECLABS, InTouch

9: Successful Email Marketing
Eric Groves, Constant Contact 

10: PR for Inbound Marketing
Todd Defren, SHIFT Communications 

11: Twitter for Business
Laura Fitton, co-author of Twitter for Dummies

12: Advanced Marketing Analytics
Avinash Kaushik, Google, author ofWeb Analytics 2.0

13: Social Media for Big Business
Paula Berg, Southwest Airlines,  Linhart PR 

14: The Science of Social Media
Dan Zarrella, HubSpot and The Facebook Marketing Book

15: Enchanting Your Prospects
Guy Kawasaki, AllTop and Enchantment

16: Social & Mobile Marketing
Jamie Turner, The 60 Second Marketer

17: Internet Marketing Comprehensive Review
Mitch Joel, author of Six Pixels of Separation

18: Inbound Marketing Exam Review
Mike Volpe, HubSpot

So sign-up and start learning.

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