December 2002
Neat little ideas for the holidays
In the next month or so you will once again have to confront the problem of what to give your best customers for Christmas. The usual items come to mind. Perhaps, a bottle of wine, but chances are if you give them red, they’ll like white and vice versa. The oversized gift basket is another option. But that’s a lot of money to spend on shredded packing paper and not much else, isn’t it? How about a gift certificate from some store your customer would never go to, or worse, has had a bad experience with? Lastly, there’s the traditional box of cheeses that looked so grand in the mail-order flyer but turns out to be little more than a sleeve of crackers and a few of those pre-wrapped chunks of cheddar that you find in the ever-popular airline economy meal. All these options leave something to be desired.
So, instead of the same old gifts, why not give something completely different. Something that only a few in our industry have handed out in the past. Why not give something that has—dare I say it—been printed? I know your first reaction might be, “Well, that’s hardly innovative.” But, from some of the printed gifts I’ve seen, I can say innovative is the first word that comes to mind.
One printer I know gives out executive letterhead and envelopes to his top customers. He found, to his surprise, that a lot of those customers hinted they really could use a refill next year. Another idea comes from a book printer. He gave out personalized book plates to all his top customers. They were so impressed, they told other book publishers. And if you must give out wine, at least print customer labels with your “house name” on it like Litho Vintage, for example. Or better still, printed with your customer’s name on the bottle—after all, this is the age of variable pri
Try something
new. Why not give your clients
something that has—dare I say
it—been printed?
A more traditional idea of a beautifully printed calendar featuring picturesque Canadian landscapes (scenes of people, especially family members, at play, are better left on your mantle) still goes over well with customers. And if you do some art reprints, make a deal with the artist where you can give out a set of reprints to your best customers. One printer in Vancouver did a reprint of the first page of the Gutenberg Bible, which he gave out to customers. A number of those customers ended up framing it. On the fun and games front, a Toronto printer, who had a boardgame creator for a client, arranged to hand out the game to his customers who attended his annual Christmas open house.
Another printer, who does a lot of work for agencies and designers, gets one of his customers to design an intricate, special-effects poster that he gives out every year.
There are so many ways to give the gift of print and these are just a few innovative examples that can be printed for the holiday season. The interesting thing is, when a customer gets a unique, printed gift they almost always say, “Isn’t that a neat idea.” And sometimes, they might just ask you about printing a similar project to give to their customers next year.
Alexander Donald is the publisher of Graphic Monthly Canada.
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