An extraordinary print business is one that will consistently do the things that ordinary printing companies either can’t or won’t do.
But what exactly does it take to launch a business from the ordinary into the extraordinary?
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many in the printing industry to come face-to-face with a line in the sand. Do print owners stay on the ordinary side of the line and continue to do things as they always have been? Or do those print owners use the pandemic as the impetus that catapults them to the new extraordinary side of the line?
It’s a tough question. After all, the ordinary is known, expected, safe. While making the leap into the new and unfamiliar can be full of risk, feel a little wobbly, and downright scary. But, as I’ve heard myself say over and over again in recent months, “Change is scary. Staying the same is scarier.”
“Change is scary. Staying the same is scarier.”
– Dave Hultin, President, Marketing Ideas For Printers
One such business that recently took these words to heart and made the leap to extraordinary is PaperGraphics Printing in Temple, Texas, with their launch of an innovative marketing-based solution called PaperGraphics+.
But, first, a little history.
PaperGraphics Printing has been serving the community of Temple, Texas, since 1972. Founded by Elwood Smith, PaperGraphics made its debut as Speedy Print, becoming the first quick printing business in Temple, Texas.
In 1986, Elwood’s son, Doug, came to work full-time for his dad. After working his way up in the company, Doug eventually took over the production aspects of the business, while his brother Dennis took on the responsibility of sales.
Eventually, the business became so much more than quick printing and changed the name from Speedy Print to PaperGraphics. Additionally, they added a FASTSIGNS franchise several years ago to increase their services to the local area even more. As an all-digital printer, PaperGraphics currently provides everything from direct mail to signs and banners, helping businesses grow through print.
One of the unique things about a global pandemic is that even though everyone feels its impact, we’re all feeling that impact in different ways.
For Doug and the PaperGraphics Printing team, it looked like this: “COVID slowed us down quite a bit. We were easily down by 20%, although I know that we didn’t have it as bad as a lot of other folks. Still, to stay open, we had to adapt. I used that slow time listening to others in the industry for support. For example, the [Coronavirus Resources for Printers] webinars [MI4P] hosted. Mostly, I spent a lot of time asking myself, ‘What are the things we can be doing and should be doing?’”
Taking the time to ask himself the tough questions led Doug to seek out some new initiatives in his business journey.
“Right before the pandemic hit, we joined NPSOA,” says Doug. “I read an article by Dave [Hultin] and found out about the association. NPSOA has turned out to be a really good source of information for us. That was one step in the right direction.”
Doug continues, “Another step was continuing to do monthly direct mail campaigns. It inspired me to look for new ways to do what we were already doing. Marketing Ideas For Printers offered a free postcard for us to reach out to people, and we took advantage of that. Then, everyone needed signs for COVID, and that helped a lot. We were still down for the year, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could’ve been.”
Doug and the PaperGraphics team have long been fans of direct mail. But recent events had them taking the tried-and-true marketing tactic of direct mail and bringing it into the future with the launch of PaperGraphics+.
“We’re really excited to provide omni-based direct mail. It’s traditional direct mail PLUS the technology of today, such as tracking, lead capturing, informed delivery, and ads that are all put together to give the print buyer a complete marketing campaign,” says Doug. “The plus (+) of PaperGraphics+ allows the print buyer to see if and when their direct mail is delivered. It captures the leads coming to their website and tells if their website visitors are going to their website because of their direct mailing. You can see what your visitors are looking at online and then target them.”
Today’s print buyers don’t want to send direct mail and “hope for the best” in getting results. In an information-saturated society, today’s buyers want a return of information. They want to know that their direct mail campaigns are working. That’s what PaperGraphics+ offers to print buyers.
“If you’re not doing direct mail, you should be. Our sales were going to stagnate, and we had to take a hard look at what we needed to do. We had to grow and expand,” Doug states.
When asked what advice he’d give to other printers to capture a “More than a Printer” mindset, Doug offers some valuable advice.
“It comes down to thinking outside the box. Look into growing your business. Look into getting into the sign business. You just need to be proactive, not reactive. You need to evaluate your business and see where you can take it, and sometimes, it’s not where you might expect.”
This article originally appeared in the June 2021 issue of NPSOA magazine. For more information on how you can become an NPSOA member and enjoy the many benefits offered there, contact Member Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or head to their website at NPSOA.org.