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Sports Illustrated – Literally

Answering the Bell

Variable Data Printing: Getting Personal Can Pay Off

In the continuous pursuit of cutting through the clutter to get your message noticed, you may want to consider personal direct marketing, also known as variable data printing. Whether you’re targeting existing customers or new prospects, conveying a unique message geared to each recipient is a proven, effective means to get a measurable return on investment – without sacrificing time or incurring one-off expenses. Here’s how it works. With variable data printing, text fields, images and even colors can be customized to individual recipients of mail campaigns or other marketing elements such as leave-behind literature. Examples include promoting specific products based on the individual purchase histories of current customers or targeting prospects with services based on the number of employees they have or location of their business. Mail campaigns utilizing variable data printing also enables improved tracking of response rates to unique offers through the use of barcodes or other custom identifiers. Contact us to learn how Homewood can help get your first VDP campaign off the ground!

First Impressions Mean the Most

Competitive Barefoot Water Skier? Yeah, We Have One of Those.

This month’s Offline Confidential features Pat Felgner, second-shift pressman and shoeless aquatic sensation. A 25-year industry veteran, Pat joined Homewood in 2001. In addition to operating our offset presses, Pat is experienced on nearly all of our gear and this versatility makes him a major asset to the company, allowing us added flexibility in resource allocation. Flexibility is important to Pat as well, as he shared: “The thing I like best about working for Homewood is the family-like culture. It’s family-owned and that feeling is carried across to the workplace.”



He continued, “Thanks to (Homewood President) Scott, I’ve been able to maintain a good work/family life balance over the years, coaching my daughter’s softball team and attending school functions, even though I’m a shift worker.” A Toledo native, Pat and his wife have three daughters. He started water skiing when he was 5, ditched the skis by 13 and has competed at an amateur level for several years. If you ask us, there are not too many things as exhilarating as barefoot water skiing at 40 miles per hour!

Get Your Virtual Paddles Ready


The hammer is about to fall at AdBID 2015. AdBID is AAF Toledo’s annual online auction of advertising products and services. Register before the May 1 conclusion for your chance to score some of our latest sensory print products.

As a member and supporter of AAF Toledo, Homewood is donating either 250 custom “tear off” business cards – our current style of engaging, conversation-starting cards –


or, adding our proprietary Rub4Scent technology to any printed project that we would produce for the top bidder. Both options have a $500.00 value and provide an excellent opportunity to experience the realm of sensory offline marketing firsthand. Please join us in taking part in this worthy event before it’s too late!

Project Profile: National Fatherhood Initiative


National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1994 to reverse our nation’s destructive trend towards father absence. Today, over 24 million American children live in homes in which their biological fathers do not live. As a result of living without the presence of a responsible and committed father, they face a host of risks to their physical, economic, and emotional well-being. NFI’s mission is to improve the welfare of children by increasing the proportion of those with involved fathers in their lives.

To fulfill its mission, NFI develops and maintains an extensive portfolio of high quality fatherhood skill-building materials, giving organizations around the country the resources, knowledge, and training they need to provide programs to help men be the best dads they can be. That’s where Homewood comes in.

With Homewood’s help, NFI prints and distributes a biannual catalog featuring over 100 fatherhood skill-building products to organizations across the nation.

Further, NFI’s flagship fatherhood programs such as 24/7 Dad®, InsideOut Dad®, and Doctor Dad® are delivered to customers as curriculum kits containing Facilitators’ Manuals and Fathering Handbooks. NFI turns to Homewood to print thousands of copies of these books per year, and relies on them to provide durable products that customers can use for years to come. Further, the InsideOut Dad® Facilitators’ Manuals used by fatherhood program facilitators in maximum security prisons must follow specific printing and binding standards for use in a prison environment. As such, Homewood worked with NFI to select the best binding which will hold up to daily use in such a strict environment.

Homewood continues to be a leader in printing NFI’s low-intensity resources that are distributed to fathers across the country; specifically, tip cards, brochures and pocket guides. These pieces are distributed through social service, health and other community-based organizations across the nation, and are used to help dads learn important fathering skills such as caring for a newborn, how to be a better dad, how to co-parent, and more. Other low-intensity resources printed by Homewood are the “How to Prepare for Deployment” brochures, used on military installations across the world for military dads, and the “How to Prepare for Successful Reentry” brochures, given to incarcerated fathers in county, state, and federal prisons across the nation.

“Homewood offers excellent print services, while completing our projects accurately, on time, and on budget. We couldn’t accomplish our mission without them,” stated Melissa Steward, Vice President, Marketing Department of the National Fatherhood Initiative.


Getting the Most from Direct Mail


To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of direct mail’s death have been exaggerated. In fact, recent studies show that direct mail remains a relevant and effective promotional tool, even for e-commerce and digitally oriented businesses. We’ve compiled some best practices to help make your next direct mail campaign more successful. The following are five general guidelines that will assist in generating better results:

1.) Identify your target audience. Even if you’re short on existing leads or prospects, mailing lists are available for practically every field and demographic. Reputable sources include trade media and data services such as SRDS, which offers over 65,000 lists covering 230 industries.

2.) Know your target audience. Identifying is one thing, knowing is another. As the late great direct mail copywriter Malcolm Decker advised, “Develop a clear profile of your prospect as the available research offers and then match that profile up with someone you know. Put him or her in a chair across from you, and write to that person, conversationally!”

3.) Include an offer — give the recipient a reason to respond — whether it’s a discount, complimentary service or inexpensive gift card.

4.) Stand out. As most marketing professionals will tell you, colored envelopes with a stamp or a 3-dimensional mailer packaged in a tube or box usually will not get thrown out prior to being opened like a lot of standard, ho hum business reply mail. Additionally, ensure your awesome design meets US Postal Service standards. We included a handy list of tips at the end of the story for reference.

5.) Follow up! Connecting with a phone call or email to non-respondents 10-14 days after the mailing can help ensure they received the mailer and determine their interest in your offer. For more information, visit the Direct Marketing Association website. And, remember to check out our list of USPS tips below to make your next mail print project go smoothly. The direct mail representative at your local post office can provide more details.

Helpful Direct Mail Design Tips:

  • Max flat dimension: height: 6″ length: 10.5″
  • Max weight: 3 oz.
  • If a flap is used, it is considered the final fold.
  • External flap is final fold down from top on non-address side or from lead to trail edge
  • Die-cut shape allowed must be sufficiently sealed to panel
  • Die-cut holes completely through mailers are not allowed.
  • Scent coating, such as that offered by Homewood, cannot be on the outside of the mailing piece, it must be enclosed.

Random Fact: The postage rate for a 6 x 4.25 postcard is 34 cents instead of the standard first class rate of 49 cents.