IP Wants You to Go Paper. Grow Trees.™

Kudos to International  Paper!

Their sponsorship of a new awareness campaign aptly titled ‘Go Paper. Grow Trees. delivers the facts – and nothing but the facts! – about how using paper actually does benefit the health and growth of trees and forests worldwide.

And since we depend on forests for many reasons (social, ecological and economical), it is important we all do our part to spread this message to everyone within earshot (or eyeshot).

The main purpose of this campaign is to educate the public as to the challenges that private landowners face in cultivating forests. And since a vast majority of the 750 million acres of U.S. forests are privately owned1, it is up to these private (usually family) owners what will happen to our forests.

“It’s important to understand that tree farmers and other private landowners plant about 4 million trees every day… about three to four times more than they harvest. By planting trees and managing forests responsibly, landowners are given the financial incentive they need…”
– Teri Shanahan, VP of Commercial Printing, International Paper “

When we DON’T use paper, the income that tree farmers would normally receive is drastically reduced, which then leads to their inability to keep these forests going. To ensure their business’s survival, many tree farmers have begun to convert their forestlands to more profitable sources of income, such as agricultural crops or selling the land for development.

Either way, it results in a loss of forestlands, reducing our ability (yes, it affects all of us) to receive many of the health benefits we currently take for granted – things many of us don’t even think twice about like clean water, fresh air, etc.

Needless to say, it is important that we, as consumers, spread the word (and repeat the mantra) to Go Paper, Grow Trees. Because printing is good and paper products are a “sustainable, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable resource2.”

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1Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 2010

2http://whattheythink.com/news/48005-international-paper-site-shows-paper-demand-contributing-forest-growth/

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How To Go Green: Office Edition

There are tons of ways to green your office at no cost to you. And let’s face it, with the holidays looming, who isn’t looking to save money right now? We’ve compiled a list of 5 tips below. Following even just a few can make a difference – not just for the environment but for your wallet as well!

1. Print Responsibly.
Start by evaluating everything you print on a daily basis. Are you only printing what you need? Are you using recycled paper? It’s amazing how much useless information we all print, but the first step is to take it all into account and remember to print only what we need and use recycled substrates whenever possible.

2. Go Vinyl Free.
Take a look around your office right now and gather everything that contains some sort of vinyl (binders, folders, reports, etc.). Not only is vinyl almost impossible to recycle, it can also be harmful to your health. Did you know there’s a better option? Reduce your dependence on vinyl and Go Low-Carb today.  

3. Bring reusable utensils and packaging.
No need to use disposable cutlery when you can easily bring your own silverware for lunch. It’s much better for the environment and more cost-effective than using disposable. The same goes for the way you package your lunch. Choose reusable lunch bags over paper and aluminum water bottles over plastic and feel good about reducing your carbon footprint.

4. Install energy efficient lightbulbs.
This is probably one of the easier tips to pull off, if you haven’t already. It’s a win for everyone, your boss will save money on the electric bill and you can feel better about reducing your energy consumption.

5. Turn off all computers and lights.
At the end of the day (or anytime you know you will be out of your office for an extended period of time), make sure to turn off your computer and lights. Every little bit helps and you wouldn’t believe how much energy and carbon emissions you can save by remembering to do this daily.

Is there anything we missed? Share with us below how you gave your office (or home, bedroom, etc.) the green treatment!

Visit TreeHugger.com for a plethora of resources on going green.

7 Reasons Print Will Make a Comeback in 2011

We recently discovered a blog that contains tons of information about content marketing. What first caught our attention was a post published on August 11, 2010 entitled “7 Reasons Print Will Make a Comeback in 2011”. This article disputes the argument that print is dying a slow painful death, and instead highlights print’s selling points for the corporate marketer. See the first three points below and take a look at Joe Pulizzi’s Content Marketing Blog here to see the rest.

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“You’ll find no greater supporter of online content marketing than me, but marketers and agencies are talking up print for 2011. Yes, in the era of iPads and Apps, there is still a role for print.

Jeff Jarvis recently wrote about how media companies need to ignore print.

“The physical costs of production and distribution are killing. The marketing cost of subscriber acquisition and churn are hellish.”

He’s right.  And if you are a media company that relies on most of your revenue for print, you need to post Jeff’s article on your forehead.

But if you are a corporate marketer, there is an opportunity here. Here’s why:

1. Getting Attention: Have you noticed how many fewer magazines and print newsletters you are getting in the mail these days? I don’t know about you, but I definitely pay more attention to my print mail.  There’s just less mail, so more attention is paid to each piece. Opportunity? Less traditional publishers are printing magazines today, which leaves opportunities for content marketers.

2. The Focus on Customer Retention: In a soon-to-be-released research study conducted by Junta42 and MarketingProfs, customer retention was the most important goal for marketers when it came to content marketing outside of basic brand awareness.  Historically, the reason why custom print magazines and newsletters were developed by brands was for customer retention purposes.  We have a winner!

3. No Audience Development Costs: Publishers expend huge amounts of time and money qualifying subscribers to send out their magazines. Many times, publishers need to invest multiple dollars per subscriber per year for auditing purposes (They send direct mail, they call, they call again so that the magazine can say they that their subscribers have requested the magazine. This is true for controlled (free) trade magazines).  

So, let’s say, a publisher’s cost per subscriber per year is $2 and their distribution is one hundred thousand.  That’s $200,000 per year for audience development.  

That’s a cost that marketers don’t have to worry about.  If marketers want to distribute a magazine to their customers, they just use their customer mailing list. That’s a big advantage…”

Read the remaining reasons Print Will Make a Comeback in 2011.

Digital vs. Print Media: Who is the Eco-Heavyweight?

The transcripts from a discussion on NPR yesterday are now posted (and making the rounds on Twitter), once again weighing the environmental pros and cons of both digital and print media.

The purpose? To try and determine which is truly more sustainable and therefore, the “better” option. The conclusion? Well, it depends.

Don Carli, a researcher for the Institute for Sustainable Communication took the pro-print approach, agreeing that print is energy intensive – but so is digital:

“There are also comparable and in some cases sometimes even greater environmental impacts in terms of energy consumption and other outputs in terms of waste. Toxic waste to the air, to the land, to water, from digital media infrastructures.

You have computers, data centers and server rooms that suck energy. You’ve also got to mine the minerals to make the devices. And, when you toss your old RAZR, it becomes e-waste. A multimillion ton toxic problem.”

Rita Schenck of the Institute for Environmental Research and Education, took the opposite approach. She believes reading news online is better… sometimes:

“Once you read several newspapers, say 10-20 newspapers, you have as much environmental impact as if you read and you took the whole life cycle of the electronic system.

When we start having the whole world connected electronically, it’s going to become really, really important that we find a way to move those electrons around cheaper, for less environmental impact.”

According to the transcripts, Schenck believes the most sustainable way to approach digital is by using renewable resources (i.e. solar energy), in order to reduce the environmental impact of electronic devices.  

So is there a clear winner in this battle? We’ll have to go to the judges for that…

Read the article in its entirety.

Learn about sustainable print solutions from Green Books N Binders.

Are Corporations Really Committed to Green?

Are corporate environmental sustainability efforts a joke? A majority of consumers and even executives seem to think so.

In a study released last month by Gibbs & Soell Public Relations, a large majority of consumers and executives seem to doubt the commitment of corporate green efforts. The exact percentages of consumers and Fortune 1000 executives who believe most or all companies are committed to “going green” came in at 16% and 29% respectively – much less than half for both.

What’s the reason for this perceived lack of commitment? Executives would like to push at least some of the blame off on consumers, with an astounding 71% claiming they believe that consumers are unwilling to pay a premium for eco-friendly products. Additionally, 78% of executives believe it is due to lack of return on investment and only 34% of executives surveyed believe it is due to a lack of commitment from senior leadership. Meanwhile, survey after survey shows consumers re-affirming their willingness to go eco-friendly even if it’s at a higher price point, as long as the products are comparable.  So what gives?

All things considered, the main issue at play appears to be lack of communication. With green notions still being a relatively new concept, many companies are still learning the best way to effectively deliver this message without being accused of greenwashing. There is a fine line between marketing actual sustainability efforts and inflating them.

With the recent environmental disaster in the Gulf, it is only natural that consumers will question the true commitment of large corporations more now than ever before. Corporations can overcome this challenge by being honest and willing to “walk the talk”. Transparency is key to winning the “green game” and the companies making these green claims need to be willing to prove their efforts. As Ron Loch, VP of Sustainability for Gibbs & Soell says,

“As long as companies are transparent in their communications and don’t overstate the social and environmental impact of their efforts, they can avoid being painted with the greenwash brush. It gets back to the need of really taking inventory of what is happening throughout the organization and then weaving that into a compelling, credible and defensible narrative.”

Read the original article.

Learn more about Green Books N Binders’ green commitment.

From PURLs to Profit

pURLs are personalized URLs, not to be confused with these types of pearls!

In addition to Variable Data Printing, another form of one-to-one marketing is PURLs.

PURLs, or Personalized URLs, are website URLs that are customized with a specific prospect’s information. They often contain the prospect’s name as part of the URL and are a great way to target your marketing campaigns.

To be more specific, personalized URLs are custom web pages created for and directed towards the end-user, or prospect. When the prospect visits their specific link, the website is tailored to that person. The possibilities of customization are vast. You can include any information you have on your customer on this webpage: age, location, interests, occupation, etc. The more custom, personalized content you create, the more effective the campaign will be.

Often used in conjunction with direct mail pieces, pURLs are also perfect for use in email marketing campaigns since the link can be easily clicked from the email. This gives your prospect instant gratification and provides for instant capture of lead information. Even better, all of the activity from this specific webpage can be tracked, giving you an idea of where your users’ interests lie for future marketing campaigns.

One of the best things about pURLs is the “not-so-silent P”: Profit. A marketing piece that is much more targeted will yield more information, better results (and higher profits) than a generic link that is sent to everyone.

Multi-touch marketing campaigns are essential to increase not only your marketing ROI but also your company image. Simplifying and quantifying the marketing process is a key component for success and pURLs allow for just that.

TIP: Always be sure to work with a printer that has experience developing these types of campaigns so you can rest assured it will be done right.

Variable Data Printing: An Overview

Variable Data Printing, also known as one-to-one marketing, is a form of printing in which unique data (text, graphics or images) is printed on each piece. It is achieved through digital printing.

How it’s Used

VDP is one of the most effective methods to use when implementing any direct mail or promotional campaign. Customizing each printed piece with personalized data adds a special touch to an otherwise generic mailing.

Why VDP?
1. Options

With Variable Data Printing, there are endless customization options. You can personalize a piece based on whatever information you have: your recipient’s age, location, marital status, gender, etc.

2. Profitability

It is ideal for small or large companies looking to get more bang for their buck (and let’s face it, who isn’t these days?) VDP campaigns are typically shorter print runs and because they are so targeted, they render higher response rates than mass mailings.

3. Eco-Friendly

VDP is inherently green. Unlike printing offset, it doesn’t take more energy to personalize a piece through digital printing – the process is essentially the same, just different data is used. Therefore a shorter print run is needed, resulting in less energy used and reduction of waste. Also, since mailing addresses can be printed directly on the piece it eliminates the need for a label!

The piece below is a Variable Data marketing piece we recently created. As you can see, the front is customized with the recipient’s name and the top right corner has data-specific text that pertains to this client.

The Proof
As is mentioned several times, variable data printing increases response rates. Wikipedia reports that the returns of variable print vary from double to 10-15 times the rate of generic pieces – pretty impressive.

The bottom line is, variable data printing is a great way to reach your customers and show them that you may know more about them than they think (or realize).

The key is to find a printer experienced in VDP who can guide you through the process, especially if it is your first time. After your first successful variable print campaign, there will be no going back. Not only that, but the door is also open for even more customization! pURLS (personalized URLs) and unique email addresses can be created using the same type of technology – but we’ll save that discussion for next week…