7 Secrets for Promoting Your Brand That Won’t Cost You Anything


Harvey Hirsch will be making this presentation in Medellin, Colombia, S.A. on day 2 of their first ever marketing conference on April 29 and 30th. In his presentation, Harvey will demonstrate why his technique for Rapid Domination of Your Google Real Estate will eventually render most pay per click or adword programs obsolete.

He will also share with attendees some of his unique, high-response, tactical marketing strategies and products that have given his clients a great competitive edge in their own markets while breaking all response rates and controls including the mailer that Xerox named as Best in the World when they awarded it their coveted First Place PIXI for Variable Marketing (and the mailer he didn’t show them that broke all response rates).

It has been said that just viewing his tactical marketing products will change the way you think about marketing.

A step-by-step guide to marketing using 21st Century technology

A step-by-step guide to marketing using 21st Century technology

This video presentation will be part of Harvey’s new e-book: 7 Secrets to Promoting Your Brand That Won’t Cost You Anything – A step-by-step guide to growing your business.

Attendees of this presentation will learn:

  • How to dominate your Google real estate
  • Why collecting and using data will lower your marketing costs
  • How to gain a competitive edge in any marketing endeavor
  • The power of video images to promote your brand
  • How to make your marketing communications cost-effective

Who should attend:

Marketing decision makers, Art Directors, Product Marketing Managers, Printers who are exploring digital as an alternative to static print, Owner/Operators of businesses in the business to business arena and Students entering the ever changing world of Marketing Communications.

My Extraordinary Experiences @Commcorp Communications Conference In Medellin, Colombia

My First Night In Medellin, Colombia

It was hot and humid and after I tried their version of firewater, aguardiente, it was time for a cool one.

It was hot and humid and after I tried their version of firewater, aguardiente, it was time for a cool one.

When my family, friends and inner circle learned that I was planning to present at the @commcorp branding and marketing communications conference in Medellin, Colombia, they all registered a sense of fear for my safety. Would I be bringing bodyguards? An assault weapon? Bullet-proof vest?

I have to admit that I remember the name Escobar and how, at one time, Medellin was a Wild West town in a chain of towns throughout Latin America involved with the drug trade.  That was about twenty years ago and since than, Medellin seems to have dropped off the map of the top cities for violence and kidnapping. I know, I Googled it. Bogota, on the other hand, is numero dos. Incidentally, there’s a Norte Americano city on the list too!

I began my first South American adventure with on-line dialog with Viviana Martinez at Plaza Mayor, the bi-lingual liaison assigned to schedule my flight, procure interpreters (sorry, I didn’t trust my high school Spanish or the words I learned in the Army) make sure I was ferried around and ensured that I would have a fun, foodie and safe time. So that Saturday, I was picked up at the airport by Andrea Vasquez and her friends who drove me the 22km to my hotel and then out to try lumpia, aguardiente and a cold Club Colombia at one of the local bars.

The Colombian version of Chinese spring rolls. Hot, crispy, greasy and delish.

The Colombian version of Chinese spring rolls. Hot, crispy, greasy and delish.

My First Day In Medellin

Sunday morning I had a quick breakfast at the Art Hotel and then I joined several of the other presenters, along with the management and marketing team from Plaza Mayor on a tour of the conference hall, the entire Plaza Mayor complex and a ride on the Metro, including a cable car journey to Parque Arvi, their nature conservatory and stewardship with the rain forest. I even got to ride with the conductor of this new overhead railway system from downtown to the cable cars, with my video going.

This tasty tidbit  consists of a thin wafer that you fill with different items and then cover it with another wafer. I had caramel, coconut, nuts and chocolate. Yum

This tasty tidbit consists of a thin wafer that you fill with different items and then cover it with another wafer. I had caramel, coconut, nuts and chocolate. Yum

As a former pilot, I enjoyed the almost seventy degree path up the mountain and then, the gentle ride across the mountain to Parque Arvi was exhilarating and fun for our entourage, and once we arrived, the tour with Andrea became most fascinating. I tasted several tasty snacks, saw taffy pullers, rode a party bus and then had a wonderful lunch at this small hotel overlooking a man-made lake on the top of the mountain. On our way back, one of the daily thunderstorms of spring kept us on one of the stations for a while and I was able to ask our representative from Plaza Mayor, Sameer Ibrahim, some questions, enabling me to round out the finer points of life and society in Medellin.

As best as I can explain, this is the food of the people and includes: potatoes, chiccarone, avocado, sausage, plantain, rice and a fried egg. Huge and tasty.

As best as I can explain, paisa is the food of the people and includes: potatoes, chiccarone, avocado, sausage, plantain, rice and a fried egg. Huge and tasty.

Sunday night we all met up for a wonderful dinner at El Rancherito, a chain of restaurants noted for their wonderful steaks and something called paisa, which I was able to taste and enjoy as well as other local culinary delicacies. This was a wonderful experience as Uriel Sanchez, one of the directors of Plaza Mayor brought his family and everybody was making me feel like part of the extended Medellin family.

The First Day of Presentation @CommCorp with a lunch at Mulata’s in Plaza Mayor

I met Sameer on the trek to Parque Arvi and was impressed with his linguistic prowess. He has lived all over  the world and speaks 34 languages.

I met Sameer on the trek to Parque Arvi and was impressed with his linguistic prowess. He has lived all over the world and speaks 34 languages.

Monday was the first day of this inaugural marketing and branding communications conference and I was able to sit in and cull information from each presenter because my two interpreters, Andrea Vasquez and Mariana Montoya kept whispering in my ears the English version of what each presenter was talking about. I am a lucky guy and I’m sure some of the other presenters were jealous of me for having two smart, intelligent and attractive women in attendance.

A delicious stew made up of beef, chicken, pork, potatoes, yucca, corn and herbs and served with arepas and avaocado. My first taste of this food of the people was great.

San cocho is a delicious stew made up of beef, chicken, pork, potatoes, yucca, corn and herbs and served with arepas and avaocado. My first taste of this food of the people was great.

I sat in on all of the presentations, listened, watched and culled data from each. At the end of the morning presentations on the first day, I had learned so much and had such a wonderful time and I was looking forward to lunch. They walked us into the plaza and to Mulata’s. I would try to order san cocho.

Click here for video Lunch at Mulata’s criolla

The afternoon had another group of speakers including Alejandro Paolini, who was staying at the Art Hotel with his wife, Pamela and Daniel Scheinsohn, all from Argentina.  I had an opportunity to speak with them and learn more about how the media works in their country. Pamela talked me out of one of my samples and I enjoyed every second and Alejandro gave me a copy of his presentation.  I want to stay in touch with all of the presenters.  After the last presenter I headed back to my hotel to work on tomorrow’s Prezi.

The taconacho costumed character posed with me at @commcorp communications and branding conference

The taconacho costumed character posed with me at @commcorp communications and branding conference.

Monday night I was still adding to my presentation as they told me I now had an hour and a half, so I added a few topics and then, at nine at night, I ventured out into the streets of El Poblado with my taste buds in the lead, seeking something new. A few blocks from the Art Hotel I spotted a big sign for Mondongo’s and dying to try mondongo, I went up the street to give this tripe stew a taste. I later found out from Carlos that the original Mondingo’s, (he owns restaurants in Miami and all around Medellin). I enjoyed my first modongo stew.  It came with arepas, that corn bread found everywhere just waiting for a topping.

Tuesday – Day four of my captivity

juice and yogurt

I had a wake-up call for six, took a great shower, realized I would sweat in a jacket, rolled up my sleeves and went downstairs for the breakfast buffet. I have dined all over the world and have eaten just about everything but this was the first time I had these baby empanadas for breakfast. In fact, every morning at the Art Hotel I had some fresh fruit, granola with some of their flavored yogurt, some eggs and sausage and I was ready to be in front of the eight hundred and fifty or so scheduled attendees waiting for me to make them smile.

At eight they introduced me and I took over the stage and shared the secrets of how to use video to ensure page one placement in an organic Google search. This technique allows you to dominate your Google real estate within minutes of posting and is basically for free, which annoyed the people from Google corporate, who were trying to convince the students that working for them selling Google Ad Sense would make them more money. Then, mysteriously, the internet crashed and I dropped off the stage and walked among the audience, selecting people at random to demonstrate gender specific communications and how successful messages must be emotionally charged in order to get to the frontal cortex and be acted upon.

At the end of my presentation everybody gave me the OK sign and from then on, wherever I walked, I was stopped by all of the people who wanted a photo of the Gringo from America, as I was the oldest presenter. And the young women come up to me and they would hug and give me a kiss on the cheek. I felt like Brad Pitt. I kept telling them that in America we have legislated touching, kissing and even looking at someone funny, out of the workplace. It didn’t stop them from cuddling up to me and hugging me for a picture.

They didn’t restore the internet until the next presenter.

Carlos comes from Spain and his specialty is tracking social media trends.

Carlos comes from Spain and his specialty is tracking social media trends.

During the @commcorp marketing and branding communications conference, held at the new Plaza Mayor, most of the student attendees were constantly tweeting about each presenter and Carlos Gutierrez, the Social Media analyst and fellow presenter from Spain was keeping a tally of who received the most tweets. He revealed the results during his presentation on day two, and believe it or not, I received the most tweets for my presentation. Some were #harvey some #hirsch and when added together produced a number greater than all the other presenters combined. OMG.

Mulata's chicken salad with Colombian bacon. Ahh.

Mulata’s chicken salad with Colombian bacon. Ahh.

Uriel Sanchez, one of the marketing managers from Plaza Mayor took the presenters out for lunch again at Mulata’s and I was able to get this wonderful chicken salad with arepas that I saw being eaten the day before. It was tasty and not too calorie loaded. I can get used to the Colombian lunch, which is huge and followed by a siesta. Very Euro and serene but I am not used to two-hour lunches with a nap. I could get used to it if I lived in Medellin.

The presenter came from Argentina to explain his views on brand protection.

Alejandro Paolini, from Argentina, presented his views on brand protection.

The rest of the presenters shared their ideas for the balance of the afternoon and the last presenter, Daniel Sheinsohn from Argentina rode in on a Segue scooter and circled the audience before making his presentation. Everybody, it seemed, got charged up from seeing my presentation in the morning. In fact, two of the presenters said they had to upgrade their presentations because of what they learned in mine. The conference was now officially closed. I had a bet with Mariana and Andrea about how many more people would ask for a photo with me. We were all wrong. Here’s what happened.

burguesas restaurant in parque llegas

I was invited to party with the students and their DJ’s played until nine at night at which time they had arranged a ride to take me back to my hotel.  I had dinner with David, the manager of the Art Hotel at a local hamburger joint in the park.  It was so much fun.

Wednesday – Day five of captivity


I would meet up with Carlos Villa, a media mogul in his own right, who was instrumental in prying me out of my secure environment, onto a compact seat for a six-hour flight on Avianca and then to the Art Hotel, a fabulous boutique hotel in the fashionable El Poblado section of Medellin. Carlos produces the largest watched cable show on marketing in all of Colombia (maybe even South America) as well as a popular printed magazine devoted to marketing, an e-zine on marketing and on his off-time, he teaches at the local college, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana.

After he intervied me he did 3 more and then broke for the day.

After he interviewed me he did 5 more segments and then broke for the day.

The UPB also houses the television studio where Carlos was taping 5 future shows (including one with me), while giving the students a chance to improve their camera work, editing skills and resumes. It is also where, as I found out, the school has made a pact with UPB coffeelocal coffee bean growers to sell at fair trade, their harvest, to be used in all coffee vending kiosks throughout the school.  Not only was that process beneficial to the coffee growers and local produce providers, it made for the tastiest brewed coffee for the students and faculty and one of the best I ever sipped. We had lunch at a very nice place called Hatoviejo where I tasted lulu and guanabana, two fruit drinks and had a royal serving of san cocho for lunch. san cochoA special dessert called arequipe, which consists of figs soaked in sweet syrup, a slice of cheese and a dollop of dulce de leche that just tasted so good. Arequipe is the signature dessert of Medellin, where it was invented, according to Carlos.


After lunch Carlos took me to an area called Old Village, which was a historical area with old houses and a courtyard set up to recall a history of how Medellin looked at the turn of the century. I took a few photos of the buildings and had a wonderful photo of Medellin from the mountain top that this place was situated on and then we drove around town for another tour.

We then went to one of the largest malls in Medellin where I noticed how clean the streets were and how everybody takes pride in their city. I missed my two interpreters, Andrea and Mariana, whispering in my ears. What’s that about?

That night, I had an idea where I could get a fried chicken dinner at the hotel and get ready for my presentation at Universidad Catolica de Oriente, one of the colleges Carlos scheduled me to present at.  I also started working with the Hotel Manager, David Santamaria showing him why video gets higher ratings in an organic Google search and how he should prepare his for the search engine.

Thursday – Day six of captivity

The students from UCO ranged from business majors to communications.

The students from UCO ranged from business majors to communications.

Had one of the Art Hotel’s healthy breakfasts. Fresh fruit, granola, yogurt and café con leche. The coffee here is fabulous.  Carlos picked me up after breakfast and drove me around town and then to Rionegro, over the mountain to the Universidad Catolica de Oriente near the airport where I was scheduled to present my topic to the students.

country home

Carlos also drove me to his family’s country home and showed me around the town of Rionegro where we caught lunch at one of the local eateries and I had a tortilla soup experience.  Then to the UCO where I met up with Monsignor Dario, the President of the college and a good friend of Carlos’ and several professors in the marketing, media and communications departments.

Monsignor Dario introduces Carlos Villa who will intro me as a Media Terrorist.

Monsignor Dario introduces Carlos Villa who will intro me as a Media Terrorist.

I was told that 125 students in several disciplines would attend this presentation and the designated room filled up by the time the Monsignor introduced Carlos, who would intro me as a Media Terrorist.  During my hour presentation, some of the students actually found

The students from UCO ranged from business majors to communications.

The students from UCO ranged from business majors to communications.

on-line and downloaded my Prezi so they could follow along on their iPads and smart devices. The technology was everywhere for the students to learn how to compete on a world-wide level and they all seemed to take advantage of it.  I explained how it was important for entrepreneurs to navigate the free enterprise system and they all seemed to enjoy what I shared with them. They video taped me for students that could not be in the seminar and then we headed to the faculty conference room antipastowhere they had an impromptu cocktail party and they broke out the twelve year old scotch and they had wonderful cold cuts and cheeses and olives, like a Colombian antipasto.

Father Dario presented me with a painting of Don Quixote by Juan Manuel Guiral,  which came with a certificate of authenticity, and a hand woven poncho, and then made SONY DSCplans to take us to one of the better steak houses in the area, Mundo’s, for dinner.  What a treat. And what a nice bunch of faculty and teaching clergy UCO has and they do stock some excellent scotch.

Mundo’s is really a chain of restaurants and the owner, Ralph is a Cuban guy from Miami who came to Colombia to build his dream, and what a wonderful place this was. Monsignor Dario was friends with the owner and Carlos knew him as well so we had a wonderful meal with wine and a fabulous dessert.house dessert

I got back to the Art Hotel around 11pm and caught up on my emails then went to bed and rested for tomorrow’s new experiences.


Friday – Day seven of captivity


Had another great shower at the hotel, enjoyed the breakfast of pancakes, granola with yogurt and some fresh fruits, yada, yada. Love this place. Carlos picked me up at nine and spirited me to his office, then his mother’s place where I met his mother and her live in attendant, and his wife, Anna.  He then drove me around town to a huge mall where we had lunch with his son and wife at another Crepe & Waffle. This time I had the Arabian beef crepe and then an amazing dessert, and another round of that tasty and sweet coconut and lemonade slushy, too. A special dessert was ordered and shared by us all. It was 3 little shot glasses filled with different flavored ice creams and syrups and fruit. Yummy.

Now we were heading to the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana where I presented my process of Using video for rapid domination of Google real estate, to their communications and marketing students, Juan Carlos Zapata Valencia, the Director of Faculty gave me a package of this wonderful blend to take home. He also gave me his wife, for lunch that is, as he was flying out to one of the neighboring regions to teach., we were joined by Carlos and Jeanette Marin Sanchez, another Professor from UPB.  The college picked up the tab at Crepe and Waffle, a local chain where I had a delicious crepe filled with creamed spinach smothered in large shrimp that were simmered in a tasty salsa.  They also ordered for me, a wonderful drink, more like a slushy of coconut and lemonade. I drank two of them over lunch.  Big yum on that meal.

That night, when I tried to download my photos and videos, my mac got choked with all the data and refused to take any more so I had to go with plan B and just shoot what I could on Saturday. I left the hotel around nine and walked the streets around the hotel until I found a fast food establishment that would take my credit card and got some really good and crisp fried chicken, which I took back to my room and devoured like I had never eaten before.

Saturday – Day eight of my captivity

My last “Rainfall” shower. Breakfast and check out.  Carlos asked if I would discuss my marketing experiences and answer questions with his Saturday morning

I gave a short lecture to 2 of Carlos' students right in his office.

I gave a short lecture to 2 of Carlos’ students right in his office.

class so I went to his office and discussed marketing theory, my technology and did a Q&A with them, then off to his country estate in the mountains.

The ride to Rionegro was like riding the wild block in Coney Island. As the road snaked its way up and through the mountain cars would enter quickly and jostle for position on what is the main road out of town. I had been on this route a few times since arriving in Medellin and some of the sites became more memorable as I glimpsed them from the car. Carlos was describing which former President of Colombia lives there and this person lived there. His family, it seems was very well connected.

Carlos reads

We arrived at his family’s estate just as Saturday evening’s services where about to begin and he was scheduled to do a reading during these services. I sat in on this outdoor mass in the church built by his family to honor a promise his grandfather made to God.  Afterwards, he introduced me to the priest, who worked with Monsignor Dario and who invited me into a small courtyard where he was just about to perform a christening. I was invited again by the family of Emmanuel to video and photo their happy event, which I was pleased to do and was treated to a memorable event.


For dinner, Carlos, his wife, Anna and her sister Vivian took me to Asados Exquisitos and I had a tamal, wrapped in a banana leaf and stuffed with chicken and pork while everybody indulged their craving for blood sausage. This restaurant was like a giant cabin with open space all over and no walls. It was pouring rain outside and a bit nippy for everybody except me, so the manager had a portable heater brought to the table. This was real cool as it burned wood and coal and it radiated the heat from below to warm your feet under the table. It was made of clay and had a long chimney to let the heat of the fire come out two ways.

We had a delicious dessert with Asado’s version of arequipe accompanied by a tasty and sweet Napoleon covered in slivered almonds. Oh, I got to drink green mango, which is a salty, slushy drink, favored by the locals.  I would have preferred the coconut lemonade slushy from Crepe & Waffle, but that’s me, sweet over salty.

brevar dessert

After dropping the ladies back at the ranch, Carlos took me to José María Córdova International Airport for my midnight flight back to Kennedy airport. The rain was really coming down now and I asked if they would cancel the flight and the ticketing people said maybe a short delay but probably not as they are used to the spring storms that pass over this area daily. The flight left on time. I already miss Medellin. Go figure.

Arrived in NY on time with the only incident being the man in the seat behind me having to be assisted twice for either a serious case of apnea or some substance that caused him to foam at the mouth.

He was escorted off the plane by NY’s finest and put under observation. I observed this from my position in line at customs where I waited for two hours to show my passport to a tired-looking agent from homeland security who glanced and passed me through.

My good buddy, Nick Belmonte was waiting outside to drive me back to Jersey and he had called me periodically to let me know where he was and were I was on this line. The slowness by which this line snaked around itself reminded me of most of the lines at Disneyworld, without the fun payoff at the end.

Now I was finally loading my suitcase into the trunk and climbing in for a ride home and perhaps a toasted bagel with coffee at Ridge Bagels in Lyndhurst. What a trip.


Stop Selling Rectangles

Companies are constantly besieged by marketing and especially printing services providers offering to create programs that can generate new customers for their company. Yet, when asked to present any programs that work in lead development for their company, many fail to return for the close.

The opportunity to acquire new clients in this highly competitive, constantly changing new business landscape requires a newer game plan when it comes to multi-channel 1:1 lead generators.

It takes more than just technology to generate and convert leads today!

As a marketing services provider with over 30 years’ experience, I’ve worked in virtually all segments of industry and I depend on my printers to keep me up to date on technology so I can push the envelope for my clients. Client’s today demand accountability for every dollar and generating and converting sales leads is costing them more than ever! If you can offer them something that works, they will take a shot.

Creating an effective multi-media solution that works consistently to lower lead acquisition and conversion is essentially what every business is looking for today and if you can deliver that, you will own your marketing area.

One of the best ways that print providers can tap into this lucrative channel is by rethinking their product mix.

For print to maintain its viability as one of the key essentials in a multi-channel program it must evolve from its current form to a more dynamic experience. If, in nano-seconds, the receiver of your message isn’t emotionally involved in your message, you have failed. And one of the major reasons this happens is because of the rectangle!

I blame the rectangle because it became the base from which we all make our living.

Here’s why! We all have to mail something to someone and therefore the USPS usually dictates what that would be. That’s primarily why there are postcards, envelopes, boxes and bags. So we can stuff them with material we would like to receiver to act on.

Sadly, 99.9% of all direct mail fails to achieve reaction. Is that because there are essentially 4 types of direct mail, all rectangles? I believe so. Aside from now being able to version a mailing program with variable data, essentially we are limited to rectangles. And that impedes our ability to “think out of the rectangle!”

The USPS, while a truly wonderful experiment, will continue to be impacted greatly by digital communications technologies like e-mail and steaming media. Like the music and publishing industries, printers must take the initiative in providing multi-channel strategies if they want to survive. One successful tactic is to provide products that differentiate your services from every other competitor.

When I set out to develop the next generation of direct mail products, I wanted something so dynamic that results could be predictable and still affordable. The product also had to be flexible enough to be used in multi-channel or a stand-alone programs. What I discovered will change the way you think about print communications forever.

Because one picture is worth a thousand words, I will share with you some samples of a technology that I hope will open a gateway for your future.

First off, you must understand how we, as humans assimilate data. As you are screening your daily mail, for instance, the primitive part of your brain is at work separating the non-interesting things from the interesting ones. This is done autonomically. Anything that escapes this triage gets to the frontal cortex where it must fight for constant interest in order for the brain to maintain interest. If, in a nano-second you don’t make this cut, you have failed. This is primarily why there is such a low response rate for marketing messages today.

Personalization adds a small amount of familiarity to the message which pushes it to the frontal cortex because we all like to see our name. But, because of the overuse of this feature, most people quickly discard the message because it lacks uniqueness. This is the biggest problem today. Most messages come embedded in a rectangle and that impacts negatively the uniqueness factor.

In order to avoid this mediocrity, savvy creative marketing providers are employing die-cutting to shape their message holders. By altering the shape of the mailer, you can give it the ability to stand out of all of the messages a person receives on a daily basis. In fact, if you can tailor your pitch around the shape, the inter-textualization of shape and copy will push the message into the frontal cortex of the receiver and keep embed it there for assimilation. See video

By adding personalization and if possible, versioning the pitch to include gender specific or industry specific key words, you have created a triple-threat print product that will penetrate natural reader resistance so powerfully, the person receiving it will likely never forget it.

Photo A – The Fish Shaped Postcard

Above is a fish-shaped postcard that I have used many times to amortize the die. My best results have occurred when employing it in a drip campaign where I send out several different colored, personalized fish.

Drip campaign using fish shaped postcards.

Imagine receiving a different colored fish with a different personalized message every day for a week. Imagine the fun you can have with the copy.

Photo B – The Postcard with bites taken out of it

Caption B – Here is another popular shaped postcard. To promote a Jewish Comedian, I scanned in a matzoh and placed it in the background of the card. When mailed, it actually looks like a matzoh with big bites taken out.

Photo C – the Hot Postcard

Caption C – The shape and holes are die-cut out of the paper and singed color with flames are added to accentuate the shape. Ideal for Hot Press releases, sales, and as part of a shaped mailing program.

Photo D – Piggy Bank Postcard

Caption D – This piggy bank shape allows for anything related to banks or savings giving writers a wide range of copy opportunities to build off of the shape.

Multi-channel Tactics for Your Next B2B Campaign

Whether you’ve been testing multi-channel marketing or are onto your 50th project, you always want to generate the highest responses you can get. If you’re considering including outbound tele-marketing to confirm data accuracy prior to mailing a printed control, then sampling the data also gives you an opportunity to collect additional data both on the company and the prospect. All new data captured during this phase should be considered as part of the creative criteria when developing segmented mail drops and other contact points.

Another tactic is to parse your data for gender specific mailing drops. This requires manipulating the data for universal count breakdown to determine value of prospects by gender. The creative development portion should include variations of the print (and all derivatives) to include theme, color, illustrations and if possible, physical shape.

Here’s why.
Everybody responds to images that are familiar and it’s easier to imbed your message when the prospect likes what they see and have opened up paths to their frontal cortexes to you. I know, that really sounds insidious, but essentially, if your message does not get there, then you’re not getting the R.O.I. you deserve.

Also, if you’re incorporating on-line lead gathering as the natural progression in your goal, the personalization can continue by adding purls and sending them to gender augmented sites. Getting more of your prospects to opt-in for future communications touches using on-line content means not forgetting your basic copywriting inducement pitches. Too many times I read copy that makes no sense at all or is “afraid” to motivate the visitor.

Another pitfall, old static sites.
Even today, in 2010, there are still sites without any video content, which we know helps raise your Google score and encourage more hits, and that’s where you really have to engage your prospect in order to get them to share data (their personal contact info at least.) Yes, depending upon what you’re selling, small bites, even nibbles in most cases, become the goal. Surveys prove that video is more efficient at explaining the offer faster than just reading. Make sure you have updated your site before starting your program.

After the mail drop.
I prefer incorporating follow-up tele-marketing appointment setting for the sales force, but this is an optional B2B tactic. It should at least be considered.

And, when developing your analytical requirements, be sure to include actual launch dates for all contacts and include (if possible) times of day for person to person conversations.

I have found that in most B2B mailings, I receive the lowest responses when the piece hits the desk on a Monday. Higher responses on Wed. Same with telemarketing. Higher responses from 10am-12am and 2pm-3pm Tues.-Thurs.

Guidelines for Multi-Channel Programs.
I have created a flow chart/check list (fig. 2) for assisting you in developing your own Multi-channel program. It incorporates many of the elements that you should consider in creating programs for your company and, as a MSP (marketing services provider), offer to your clients. I am sure that this diagram will be modified as other 1:1 Multi-channel Marketing warrior’s send me tips to include in the next article so, as this industry is evolving so should this checklist.

Another unique mailer designed to stand out of the recipient’s stack of mail is this mailer featuring Piranhas in a fish tank. When the recipient reaches in to pull out the invitation, a Piranha on an elastic bungee snaps out of the envelope. Copy talks about “Join us for a bite and we’ll show you how to eat your competition alive!” Intended prospect is a male “C” level decision maker.

Four proven ways to improve your marketing ROI

Learn how to wield data

The days of static messages being mass mailed to untested lists are gone. The mass communications theories of the 60s have been replaced with the personalization technology of the 21st Century. Savvy marketers are enjoying the benefits of parsing data to version messages and illustrative materials for these segmented prospects. This clever tactic insures that the right person now gets the best pitch with the right offers, in a specific time period, whether in print or online. It requires that data is collected, cleaned, massaged and deployed.

Learn the power of digital printing.

With the evolution of high quality on-demand printing, the short run testing of variable messages is the most important step before rolling out any program. If done correctly, it will generate the attention necessary to drive prospect interest into the rest of the campaign. More importantly, it will become the force for successful marketing program roll outs. Here’s why. Test, test, test, in short, economical runs. Test your lead-in pitch, test your appointment-setting pitch, test your sales close strategies, in short stop thinking big expensive mail drops versus short, targeted dynamic mailers. Get instant results and modify to fine tune each phase. Then test again.

Learn non-traditional ways to incorporate direct mail into your multimedia campaigns.

With the average business recipient overloaded with messages on a daily basis, a well-conceived mailer will encourage interaction and acceptance in many recipients. This is critical in getting your message to the frontal cortex of your prospect and not being discarded. For effective assimilation of information to take place it must get the reader emotionally. Very few email blasts can do that. Direct mail still has the power to move resistance in the receiver, if addressing the need of each recipient individually.

More importantly, it is vital that the direct mail piece generates interest in nanoseconds. In order for this to take place, you may have to get away from the traditional rectangle and employ a shaped postcard or dimensional product. With traditional mailing programs generating an average of .005%, a personalized shaped postcard (fig.1) or personalized dimensional package (fig 2) can harvest double digit responses. A URL in the piece should support the program. This could entail upgrading your site to incorporate short videos that can explain more about the benefits of your service or product.

Learn how 21st century marketing strategies are being deployed and emulate them!

You don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. Attend the marketing seminars put out by your industry associations and listen to the experts. These professionals are sharing data culled from their experience and it will help you avoid pitfalls. Read books and articles by leading innovators in marketing. It will spark ideas.

Learn to position yourself differently

This is the hardest part but can be the difference between success and failure. It’s not easy thinking in non-traditional ways, but in order to have your program stand out, you need to do more dynamic marketing. This also means that you have to re-think the way your media will reach the prospect and how much you are willing to spend to get that contact. When putting a budget together, first define the worth of a new customer, whether it is based on one-time sale, monthly activity or the life of that customer. If you can keep customers, what is the average spending per year? What would you be willing to spend in order to capture a new client? For instance, if a new client is worth $20k annually, with a gross profit of 40%, then, if you developed a program that would predictably deliver one new client appointment a week, it would be worth it to spend $10,000 to $12,000 on the program to develop it and $1,000 per week to maintain it.

The average direct mail response rate which for years hovered at 0.5% has dropped significantly to 0.01% and in most cases, the mailing generated nothing. When you add up all of the costs associated with the 99.9% of the programs that fail to generate even a break-even return, short, targeted, personalized pitches stand out as more conservative to the accounting department and more dynamic to the marketers.

Your best opportunity to meet your next client is by letting them know what they are worth to you right up front.


Print’s Dirty Little Secret

Every week it seems that we’re bombarded with the doom and gloom of the printing industry. Yesterday’s merges and buyouts are today’s plant closings and restructuring. Not a day goes by were I’m not assaulted by the news that ad pages are down and newspapers and magazine’s are closing.

The masters of this industry, Kodak, Xerox, International Papers and the huge printing concerns throughout the northern hemisphere (RRD and Quad) are imploding. Sales for their products have plummeted and the paper they hold is crushing them.

Oh, blame the internet for making it easier to do get your news, email a client and generally do business more cost-effectively. After all, the internet created a VistaPrint and all the little knock offs. Blame the recent oil speculators for raising the price of ink and transportation a few sheckles. Hell, blame the clients for not throwing their money into another poor response marketing program.

My, my, is it possible that companies are finally demanding accountability from theire CMO’s for their marketing dollars?

With the cost of every component necessary to contact prospects in all forms of media, why are they suddenly asking to justify every darn penny they spend against the sale? Oh, could it be that over 99% of all communications fails to generate a sufficient response (read: break-even)?

It’s not the printer’s or publisher’s fault. Is it? They merely brought the customer into the arena for the Creative’s to hunt. The publisher did his best to hire content providers who can produce interesting articles that draw readers onto a page where they let the ad people try to seduce them. And this is where the problem really lies.

Most creative decision makers have spent most of their careers practicing the mass-communications techniques established in the 60’s. You know, hit as many eyes for the lowest CPM and run an average.

This one-size-fits-all approach to marketing is so antiquated, so primitive, and generally so ineffective that when you add it up, it costs every company that employs it between $600 and $1,500 to generate a sales lead.

Is this print’s dirty little secret? Not yet! It’s marketing’s dirty little secret.

For years, creative people have looked to printers for ideas they can rip off (oops, I meant borrow) when pitching clients. This leaves them at the mercy of the printer because most creative people can only design traditional products like folders, brochures, postcards and self-mailers because that’s what most printers can quote on. Or, the “Millennium’s”, who believe that just web portals linked to social networks are the new fishing venues. There is a place for that too. However, with the advent of digital and its first born, variable, the static message has been rendered obsolete!

Where is the multi-channel strategy that comes with “marketing services provider?” The fact is, creative firms are imploding faster than printers. Again, the damn client wants accountability. This is primarily due to their commoditization of ideas as well as products.
And now, where closing in on print’s dirty little secret.

From my 30-odd years’ experience in creating and producing new business development programs for customers in virtually every SIC, I can attest to one, time-proven fact; print, when it’s personalized, employing the right colors, well-written prose, and most importantly, multi-dimensionality, will out-pull any other form of media communications available today!

Print will lower the cost of capture to a fraction of what it currently costs to pull in a lead! It will also stand out better, get to the frontal cortex faster, be remembered over the last streaming viral video viewed and stay in your prospect’s consciousness longer than the other messages they’re hit with while being the most cost-efficient communications format available!

Don’t believe me? Think I’m pandering to you print providers? Here’s a nasty little fact. Americans are assaulted over 4,000 times a day by media messages (that figure varies upward depending on who I consult with), and cutting through that clutter is all I am hired to do. And my first choice is always a 3-Dimensional, personalized and printed, full-color, emotionally charged, hand-assembled mailer, followed by a well-trained telemarketing person who sets up a live person-to-person 1:1 meeting. This is true multi-channel marketing.

Now, here’s my dirty little secret!

Following these guidelines has allowed my clients to generate sales appointments for under $200 a piece. Not only have some of these programs generated over 50% response rates (we actually hit the 90% response rate recently), they have allowed our clients to trim non-productive marketing programs out of their budgets and actually plan for controlled growth, even in these economically uncertain times.

And here’s what I’ve learned. The future of marketing is evolving into short run, personalized, well-targeted, “Coney Island” enhanced, B2B direct mail, versioned to go 3-deep into a prospective company with Information on Demand as an on-line back-up, handed off to a skilled telemarketing support team who’s only mission is to generate a face-to-face with a well-trained sales person. Using this system, not only can you baseline efficacy, you can actually predict expansion and growth.

Harvey Hirsch

Harvey Hirsch is president of Media Consultants, a full-service 21st Century Technology Direct Marketing Agency and its in-house digital support team, Digital Dimensions3.
With over 30 years experience utilizing Direct Mail Marketing for new business development programs, Hirsch is a proponent of VDP marketing and has achieved documented response rates in the 80% range.

In 2003, he received his first US Patent for a technology enabling him to merge data and print personalized 3-dimensional marketing products on-demand or what he terms 3D-VDP.

In 2004, one of his products earned the Leo Award for Technical Excellence from the Association of Graphic Communications and Printing News.

In 2006, one of his products received Best in Category – Digital Printing from the Graphic Arts Association of PA, Best in Show from the Philadelphia Direct Marketing Assoc. (PDMA), Best Direct Mail from the Jersey Shore Public Relations and Advertising Assoc. (JASPRAA), Best Direct Mail from the Ad Club of NJ, 3 Showcase and 3 Excellence Awards from the AGC, a Silver Medal in the PRINT International Gold Ink Awards, 2 Grand Peak Awards in Direct Mail from the PSDA and a First Place PIXI Award in 1:1 Variable Marketing from Xerox’s International awards show. More importantly, this product generated an astounding 50% response for its printing industry client.

Hirsch’s products and tactics have been cited in virtually every industry publication and he has written articles for many of them about marketing, de-commoditization, re-positioning and re-branding using his experiences with 1:1 VDP technology.

Hirsch is a marketing consultant/change agent for marketing communications content providers and printing organizations facing commoditization that need to compete more effectively and become 1:1 marketing service providers. He also presents at trade organizations and has taught at several NJ Universities.

Hirsch has his BFA in Advertising from the School of Visual Arts and his Masters in Media from the New School for Social Research, both in NY.

Friday’s Graphics of the Americas Highlights Design for Personalization

By WhatTheyThink Staff

“Whom the gods would destroy, they first make creative,” said Harvey Hirsch, paraphrasing Euripides, opening the keynote to Friday’s Design for Personalized Communications Conference. Hirsch, president and creative director of Media Consultants and Digital Dimensions3, was talking about his own accidental entrée into the personalized communications space. Indeed, he has become one of the leading proponents and practitioners of what is called “3D VDP,” creating highly targeted marketing “kits” that are often more like works of art than marketing promotions.

Hirsch cited figures that estimate that $30 billion is spent each month on traditional mass marketing communications—and 99.9% of it fails; i.e.,fails to generate any significant response (read: sales)

Hirsch’s raison d’être is to show how much marketing today is based on “vestigial thinking,” or marketing ideas whose origins in the 1960s are well past their sell-by date. Specifically, he’s speaking of conventional notions of direct mail, where you mail out tens or hundreds of thousands of postcards or brochures. Hirsch cited figures that estimate that $30 billion is spent each month on traditional mass marketing communications—and 99.9% of it fails; i.e.,fails to generate any significant response (read: sales). The brave new world of 21st century marketing embraces such avenues as transactional printing (marketing pitches that are incorporated into financial statements and/or are based on data gleaned from sales or other transactions, such as credit card purchases, an Amazon.com buying history, and so forth), multichannel marketing (using print or another medium to drive a potential customer to a Web site or personalized URL), viral or word-of-mouth (such as passing along links to YouTube videos, blogs, etc.), and versioned 1:1 (as simple as a mail-merge or as complex as the 3D VDP projects Hirsch works on.). As the landscape changes, says Hirsch, “Everything will have a name attached to it, and everything will have a link to the Internet.” He refers to this as “dintermediation” or, more colorfully, “direct mail with teeth” (Hirsch’s presentation used a piranha metaphor and, in fact, was entitled “Secrets of the Marketing Piranha”).

Hirsch then wowed the crowd with some examples of marketing projects his company has completed for clients, typically with extraordinarily high response rates—over 50% is de rigueur and 90% is not unheard of. Some of these projects included:

die-cut and personalized fish-shaped business cards;
a tube wrapped in a full-color personalized label appealing to a favorite football team which, when opened, played the sound of a sportscaster announcing a touchdown;
a small box that contained a cardboard camera—festooned with personalized text—that also included personalized text and graphics on a pull-out paper “filmstrip”;
a box that included bags of trail mix (with personalized labels);
appropriately catchy copy that tied into the physical elements of the kit.
There were many more examples, too. One promotion Hirsch developed for a dental laboratory targeting dentists used the metaphor of being under pressure (which was printed on the outside of the box), and, when a box was opened, featured a walnut in a vise—I needn’t explain the analogy.

Each of these kits—which were developed by a process that Hirsch has patented­—are written, printed, die-cut, and assembled in-house. Quantities are usually less than 100—the idea, again, is to avoid the saturation bombing approach of traditional marketing and instead highly target and personalize each piece so that it has interest and relevance to its recipient. But, above all else, these items are eye-catching—if expensive to produce—yet when followed up by a sales call or visit, achieve results for the client. (Hirsch also points out that such an approach is also more environmentally responsible, in contrast to printing thousands and thousands of postcards.)

Hirsch also envisions a time when digital presses penetrate the packaging industry, and consumers can buy highly customized and personalized items—swathed of course in their own custom packaging. (As if buying cereal weren’t traumatic enough these days.)

Hirsch’s presentation and examples provided ample food for thought for creatives and printers alike. While it will be some time before 3D VDP becomes even remotely common, the possibilities are endless—and, for some in the audience, exciting.

Hirsch’s keynote was followed by Steven Schnoll’s “manic street preacher session” in which he evangelized a paradigm shift for the printing industry. Instead of the “price, quality, and service” triumvirate he says is currently in play in the industry, Schnoll instead recommends a paradigm based on branding/marketing, a roster of features and benefits that create customer value, and, of course, quality and service. Ultimately, “if you can create customer value and get results, the price is negotiable.”

Schnoll advocates the “3 Cs”—collaboration (work with client), connectivity (offer guidance and “handholding” to the customer), and convergence (deliver content in the way that the consumer wants it, whether it be print or not).

One example that Schnoll cited was a printer who lost a large printing job when a cataloger decided to eliminate its printed catalog and put everything online. The printer despaired, but there was an opportunity for the printer: the cataloger will still need some way of driving traffic to that site, be it postcards or some other printed material. “For every negative, there is an opportunity,” says Schnoll.

In the context of personalized communication, success is a function of the “three rights”: ensuring that you present the right message to the right person at the right time.

The printer’s business strategy should focus on “consultative selling” and “customer relationship management” instead of “just printing things, and the printer’s brand, too, should reflect this paradigm switch. What’s in a name? Well, a host of implications and inferences. There is a reason why many successful printers have taken the word “printing” out of their names and replaced it with “integration” or “communications.” As Schnoll says, “Brand yourself so you don’t say that you are ‘just a printer.’”

After all, Schnoll says, “If you call yourself a printer, you will smell like a printer.”

On the Floor

Prowling the show floor, it is perhaps telling that one of the most crowded booths at Graphics of the Americas was that of Printers Parts & Equipment, an Ontario-based supplier of used printing equipment, parts, and supplies. (Actually, the booth with the scantily-clad “booth babes” was more crowded, for fairly obvious reasons. But we shan’t dwell on that …) One of most striking debuts at the show was Xanté’s Ilumina 502 digital color laser press, designed to easily handle a wide range of substrates and paperweights, from text to ultra thick cover. The Ilumina 502 is targeted toward small and mid-sized print shops in terms of the applications for which it is designed—and with a $8,995 price tag. The variety of substrates the unit supports make it well-suited for specialty applications, as does the new Myriad Magnetic media, a flexible, rubberized, magnetic digital substrates specially designed for the new Ilumina. To these writer’s eyes, the print quality is simply outstanding. On the show floor, Xanté was also demonstrating its FastCards solution for quickly outputting full-color business (or other) cards on stock as thick as 24-pt.

MGI has availed itself of Graphics of the Americas to provide a sneak preview of its Meteor DP60 Pro four-color digital press. (The press will be officially introduced at Drupa.) The Meteor DP60 Pro is designed for high-volume printing, capable of printing up to 3,900 letter/A4-size color pages per hour. The press can print on paper or plastic substrates.

Ryobi and xpedx were at the show to discuss Ryobi’s first 40-inch offset press, which was not on display at the show, but would be available in the U.S. next year. The 1050 Series, available in four, five, or six colors, boasts initial speeds of up to 16,000 sheets per hour (there will also be an 18,000 sph model). The new press will also be compatible with Ryobi’s LED-UV curing unit, which, instead of a conventional UV lamp, uses a lower power consumption LED light for UV curing, with which, the manufacturer claims, power usage is reduced by 70–80%, cutting electricity costs as well as carbon dioxide emissions,

Ricoh is demonstrating a wide variety of its digital and offset printing solutions, including the Priport DX 4542 color digital duplicator that supports pages up to 11.7 x 17 inches); the Priport DX 3340 color digital duplicator that boasts speeds of up to 130 pages per minute; the Priport DX 4640PD high-volume duplexing duplicator which functions as either a network printer or a digital; copier; the Priport HQ9000 high-speed duplicator that is designed to handle a wide range of substrates sizes and weights, such as envelopes, vellum, and NCR; the Aficio C7500 high-speed multifunction device; and the @Remote remote management system.

Wide-format output was also well-represented on the show floor, with manufacturers, dealers, suppliers, and finishers showcasing their wares.

Although the InDesign, Acrobat, Pixel, and Vector Conferences were highly software intensive, software—or at least graphics software—was sparsely represented on the show floor. Quark had a fairly dominant presence, showcasing its new QuarkXPress 7. Quite Software was showing its Quite Imposing family of prepress products—Quite Imposing, Quite Imposing Plus, and Quite Hot Imposing—for imposition of PDF files.

And now, it is almost time for the South Beach Party featuring hot local DJ Marvellous Mark.

33rd Annual Graphics of the Americas Comes to Miami Beach

By Richard Romano

Eager to see the latest, cutting-edge printing technologies, but can’t swing a junket to Germany for this year’s DRUPA? Well, pack your suntan lotion, pastel wardrobe, and a few Carl Hiaasen novels for the plane and head to Miami Beach for Graphics of the Americas, now in its 33rd year. Run by the Printing Association of Florida (PAF), Graphics of the Americas will be held February 27 through March 1, 2008, at the Miami Beach Convention Center in the heart of South Beach.

This year’s show focuses on some of the hottest topics in the industry, such as variable-data printing and exploding “brand” security printing issues, such as counterfeiting. The ever-evolving mix of educational conferences also seeks to bridge the gap between design/creative, prepress, and printing, with sessions and exhibits that cover all aspects of graphic design and production.

An Ever-Evolving Show

Graphics of the Americas has evolved over the past several years from the premier venue for U.S. manufacturers and vendors to interface with the Latin American graphic arts market (now approximately 37% of the show’s attendees), a market that has burgeoned and exploded in the past decade. “In the 80s and 90s, Latin America was seen as the Third World, and no equipment manufacturer paid much attention to it,” says PAF president and CEO George Ryan. Since then, however, “they’ve realized there is an economy down there and it will explode. So manufacturers are now setting up shop.” It turns out that the Latin American printing markets—like emerging printing markets all over the world—are not settling for used, but are rather buying new equipment. Latin America plays into the “offshoring” discussion; according to a 2006 special report published by The Industry Measure, U.S. Census data show that Mexico alone is one of the top four countries from which the U.S. imports printed materials, after China, Canada, and the U.K.

While the Latin American market continues to be a strength, Graphics of the Americas’ importance among North-American based graphic arts professionals continues to grow. With 20% of last year’s show geared toward higher turnouts from creative community—that is, designers, ad agencies, and other print and media buyers—GOA has expanded this focus at this year’s show. “[The show] is a bridge between the creative side and the prepress side,” says Ryan, seeking to fill the void of a large national or international creative showcase left by the demise of the Seybold show. Plus, adds Ryan, “Miami Beach is a nice destination for creatives.” The candy-colored Art Deco architecture and bohemian vibe of South Beach are certainly a draw for those following the aesthetic pursuits.

Design Tips and Tools

This enhanced creative focus is represented in several of the seminar series. The InDesign Conference, The Pixel Conference, The Vector Conference, and The Conference for Adobe Acrobat comprise a five-day, 98-session seminar track running from February 26 to March 1, featuring half- and full-day tutorials that cover the waterfront of topics ranging from handling images, streamlining workflows, managing output quality, and honing their skills in Adobe InDesign, Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and Flash. More than 30 speakers—graphic design and production experts from around the world, including such respected names as Bert Monroy, Sandee Cohen, David Blatner, Colin Smith, Mordy Golding, Claudia McCue, Chris Converse, Katrin Eismann and Anne-Marie Concepción—will share their knowledge with attendees.

The InDesign, Pixel, Vector and Acrobat conferences are organized by MOGO Media, developers of training events, conferences, and seminars for the global design community, and cover all the hot topics that designers and creatives are struggling with—using Flash, XML, HTML, scripts, color management, type and typography, tables, and more. The conferences also include tutorials on such topics as “quick start” primers for new users of InDesign, Flash, or DreamWeaver; creating forms in Acrobat; tips and tricks for using Illustrator; developing cross-media workflows; building interactive PDFs; and more.

Design for Variable-Data Printing

Creatives and printers eager to learn concrete strategies for providing variable-data printing services to clients will find a wealth of information in the Design for Personalized Communication Conference on February 29. This all-day event, led by noted industry consultant Steven Schnoll, will delve into such topics as removing the barriers to selling variable printing, reviewing the tools and technologies for producing variable campaigns, building the right business model, understanding strategic and tactical design considerations, creating a variable sales and marketing plan, and managing the additional value-added services required for personalized promotional campaigns. Speakers include John Hamm, Harvey Hirsch, Frank McPherson, Julie Shaffer, Paul Van Hoesen, and Peter Winters. The conference will also help teach printers how to organize cross-platform campaigns. “Creating and selling are things that they don’t have and need,” said Ryan.

Who should attend? The conference is designed for advertising agency staff, marketing specialists, graphic designers, digital printing professionals, printers, and prepress technicians.

Bogus Packaging—A Multi-Billion Dollar Problem

The pièce de resistance, however, is the Brand Protection Conference, taking place February 28 and 29. When most people hear the word “counterfeiting,” they immediately think of ne’er-do-wells in basements printing up faux $20 bills. However, what few people realize is that counterfeit packaging is a $700-billion-a-year problem, with at least $350 billion attributed to bogus print, packaging, and labels. And it’s not just a monetary problem. According to George Ryan, some years ago, frozen dinners bearing the counterfeited packaging of a major consumer product company entered the U.S.—with tainted food. This didn’t just ruin the brand name; it was also a health hazard. Medical packaging is also susceptible to counterfeiting, and hacked and forged documents have the potential to do substantial damage to consumers.

“Consumer products companies don’t want to talk about counterfeiting,” says Ryan, “ but it happens all the time. Cosmetics counterfeiting costs billions of dollars.” Growing out of a Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF) conference on counterfeiting, Friday morning’s session will include what has been called a “shocking demonstration” wherein Dick Warner, a security consultant and one of the premier graphic arts anti-counterfeiting experts, will lead a demonstration of how easy it is to use today’s digital tools to produce authentic-looking but bogus packaging. “It’s a hands-on demo,” says Ryan, “that includes the original package and the counterfeit package.” The goal of the session—and, indeed, of the entire Brand Protection Conference—is to not only alert consumer products companies, printers, packagers, and converters to the problem of counterfeit packaging, but to showcase the myriad solutions that can be implemented to protect brands, companies, and consumers. Specialty inks, holograms, near infrared dye taggants, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags are some of the solutions that have been developed to help battle the problem of counterfeiting, and all of these technologies will be discussed in the course of the conference. Keynote speaker Paul Fox, Procter & Gamble’s External Relations Leader for Global Operations, opens the conference with the spine-chilling wake-up call “Threats that Companies Face from Counterfeiters, Knockoffs and Fakes,” while individual sessions will discuss the latest trends and techniques in anti-counterfeiting technology.

The Brand Protection Conference is sponsored by Graphics of the Americas, PAF, HP, TUV Rheinland, and Videojet, as well as Package Design, RFID Product News, and Converting magazines. Who should attend? Conference content was created for contract packagers, design directors, creative/art directors, structural/graphic packagers, production workflow specialists, vice presidents of production, production managers, and prepress managers.

Elsewhere on the Show Floor

The raison d’être of Graphics of the Americas is to identify the hot-button issues and technologies in the graphic arts industry and craft a program of educational sessions—both on and off the show floor—to spotlight those issues. “Instead of having a run-of-the-mill session program, we’re trying to theme the sessions around emerging issues,” says Ryan. “We look at where the industry is going and then decide what we want to address.” For example, inkjet technology is finally coming into its own, and the word on the street is that this May/June will see an “inkjet DRUPA.” But printers don’t have to wait until then; Graphics of the Americas will feature a number of inkjet-related manufacturers and sessions on the show floor. Wide-format printing will be well-represented, as will conventional and digital finishing solutions, flexo, short-run packaging applications and solutions, and more. Exhibitors represent a cross-section of the industry, and include Fuji, HP, IKON/Canon, Presstek, Ricoh, RISO, and many more.

Party Out of Bounds

It being Miami Beach, it’s not all work. There is an opening ceremony on Wednesday night, February 27, at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, an opulent Gilded Age mansion built in 1916 by agricultural industrialist James Deering and now a National Historic Landmark as well as a museum owned by Miami-Dade County.

Given the show’s creative emphasis, the show floor will also include a creative fashion show, the winners of the Advertising Federation of Florida’s Addy Awards, winners of PAF’s Florida Print Awards, and a host of other aesthetically oriented exhibits.

After the show Friday, February 29, there will be a South Beach party open to all attendees outside the Miami Beach Convention Center and featuring a nationally-known DJ spinning the tunes.

Complete information can be found at www.graphicsoftheamericas.com.