ACUP Lesson: Marketing With Stickers
At the recent Association of College and University Printers (ACUP+) conference, two managers from Oregon State University Printing & Mailing Services led an inspiring session detailing some of the ways they are marketing their in-plant’s services. Director Jeff Todd and Manager Jennifer Hunt explained how COVID altered their marketing practices.
When the campus emptied in 2020, the in-plant could no longer do the 1:1 marketing and open house promotions of the past. With print jobs down, the in-plant took on a commencement gift kitting project. The items in the kit — window clings, diecut cards, branded swag — were examples of what it could do. When customers saw them, they were surprised the in-plant did these things. This led Todd to realize the printed brochures it had been handing out listing its services were not effective. New marketing methods were needed.
Taking a cue from the popular Oregon coffee chain, Dutch Bros. Coffee, which promotes itself by giving away stickers, the in-plant began printing stickers depicting its mail truck and slipping them into jobs. Customers loved the stickers, so the shop started printing a new mail truck sticker every month. People started showing up at the in-plant the first week of each month just to get the latest sticker. Then they started designing and ordering stickers of their own.
The in-plant added a second Mimaki UCJV300 with a cutter just to produce stickers. As volumes continued rising, it installed an Eclipse Mini+ digital diecutter and laminator from Eclipse Label Equipment and ran it in-line with an Epson ColorWorks CW-C6500A inkjet label printer to produce rolls of stickers, weeded and ready to peel off. The shop printed more than 250,000 stickers in 2022 and is on track to double that this year, Todd said.
The in-plant further promotes its services at University Day, a September kick-off event during which OSU service centers get a table to show off their services. The in-plant picked the unexpected theme “donuts” last year, and printed T-shirts, posters, mugs, table runners, buttons, playing cards, and more with this delicious theme. People lined up, not only for free donuts, but to see all the items the in-plant could print. That event generated a lot of orders, Hunt said.
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Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.