Scared SantaWe are warning our customers that volatility in the paper industry can hamper their ability to complete print projects in a timely, cost-effective manner for the holidays.

The print and packaging industry is surging for the holidays, and materials are getting harder and harder to find. We started stockpiling paper, envelopes and cardboard months ago in anticipation of the problems with the supply chain. The best way to ensure that you get the paper and envelopes of your choice is to talk to us very, very early in the project so that we can check availability or make suggestions for an alternative stock.

During the pandemic, many machines were taken offline, employees were laid off and several facilities were closed. Many of the paper mills have switched to making cardboard because it is in high demand for shipping boxes.

Paper ShortageFor years paper mills produced many different fun products for the advertising and design industry. They have had to take a serious look at producing papers that are not in high demand. Weights, colors and finishes that don’t sell well are being discontinued.

It comes as no surprise to any of us, that the price of paper and materials are also increasing.

The best thing you can do is communicate with your printer what your projects are for the rest of the year so that they can plan ahead. One of our large kitting clients let us know what their projects were through February so that we could order poster board to print and cardboard to ship to all their stores.

Just like everything right now, there will be times when you need to be patient and flexible. We’ll do our best to make your wishes come true this holiday season!

TrustNever has trust between customers and brands been more critical. As e-commerce continues to grow, both for health and convenience, a gap is growing, too—between brands and their customers. Trust bridges the gap.

Here are five ways you can use your print and digital communications to increase the level of trust you have with your customers.

1. Be transparent.

Be honest about your intentions with the communication—don’t bait and switch. Buyers are smart. They know when you’re real with them.

2. Show you care.

The more you show that you can relate to your customers’ concerns, the more trust you gain. That’s why empathy has become such a massive trend in marketing. Look at the success of home meal kits. Yes, advertisers promote the great taste of their food, but they also focus on helping families reclaim time out of their over-scheduled days and use meal preparation as a way to spend quality time together.

3. Deliver on your promises.

Things like money-back guarantees, free trials, and “no questions asked” returns are one way to assure buyers that your promise matches what you deliver.

4. Emphasize reliability.

Promote the results of customer service surveys showing high satisfaction rates (for example, “95% of our customers would recommend us to a friend”). Include customer testimonials and even online reviews as part of your print and digital layouts. If other people had a good experience, this increases buyers’ confidence that they can trust you, too.

5. Segment based on values rather than demographics.

Buyers in the same demographic categories often have similar priorities and needs, but when your goal is building trust, marketing to a prospect’s values can be more effective. If you are selling children’s toys, for example, target your message based on the shared value set of being active, involved parents rather than simply being parents of school-age children.
Especially in times of uncertainty, use your communications to convey consistency, transparency, and empathy. It’s a different approach than the traditional direct sell, but it’s highly effective. Especially right now.

Source: Drawn from survey results of “Global Marketing Trends” (Deloitte, 2021)