Binding options abound

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Printer binderies have been working overtime for catalog publishers for years now, but most b-to-b publishers have yet to take full advantage of them. Some printing executives expect that to change in the near future. From barrel folds to DVD holders, printers have been providing new ways to bind advertisements and materials into publications.

"The amount of things we can do with a bindery today really makes it something any publisher looking to bring in more advertising dollars should look into," said Elizabeth Bellis, communications director at Fry Communications.

Quad/Graphics has a team that will go out to publishers and clients to explain the capabilities of the company's bindery. "When we can inform people early on-from the executive team to the actual ad salespeople-it really benefits the project overall," said Eric Blohm, director of Quad/Direct Marketing, Quad/Graphics.

Quad tries to accommodate all requests but noted that atypical bindings require extra cycle time. "As a company, our goal is to cut down our cycle time every year, so it means we need to find efficiencies in other parts of our company because the bindery can add more time," Blohm said.

John Miller, senior VP-sales and marketing for Banta Publications Group, pointed to Post-It notes as an innovation that publishers like to use. "On the cover, in the pages, people can just pull them right off and use them," he said. "To have that bindery technology is huge."

One-to-one marketing is making its way from the catalogers to magazine publishers. "The first to do it, really, are custom publications," Bellis said. "One company is focusing its edit and advertising on very particular people, so it's a natural place for different versions of a publication to be created. But it's bled over to consumer publications doing specific gatefolds, binding products in for specific markets and creating such things as `barrel rolls,"' in which a large section folds out of the magazine in one direction. Bellis said Fry once had a request for a 10-foot-long barrel roll.

When it comes to personalization, Quad starts with RFM scoring, which shows how recently someone bought a product, with what frequency and how much money they've spent overall on the product. That helps the client decide what editions of a catalog or magazine should be sent to a subscriber.

"We've had instances where we'll have one ad for homeowners and another for apartment residents from a home supply store," Blohm said.

Advertisers often bind in a trackable element, such as a personalized card to use at a store. "Companies don't spend the money on creative and extra bindery charges without some form of ROI being evident," Blohm said. "If you're using the bindery's full capabilities, it's smart to be able to know how the different groups are spending their dollars as a result."

Blohm said some marketers personalize the materials they include. "People don't like to do work," he said, "so we make sure the cards are filled out and that all you have to do is check a box." Personalization can lead to 20% to 30% response rates, he said.

Miller said most publishers are more interested in what can be polybagged. "The consumer [publisher] will get more use out of the bindery technology and personalization abilities," he said. "But there's no reason that the smart and innovative b-to-b magazine publisher shouldn't be looking at it and trying to make it part of its arsenal." 

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