Expert's Opinion


By Ed Dedman, President, ProtoPrint Technologies | 07.16.10

You’ve probably seen that TV commercial lately for a nationwide office supply chain (I won’t name them – I simply “stapled” their most recent ad up on my bulletin board) where the two loud, obnoxious guys are shouting “WOW! Now that’s a low price!”

Let me be clear on my feelings here – I hate that commercial! No, I despise it…wait, it sickens me…well, you get my drift. That commercial embodies all that I believe is wrong with many marketing messages these days.

OK, maybe this is all just the emerging old curmudgeon in me starting to gain some speed, but I find that the older I get, the less patience I have for all the NOISE bombarding us from the marketplace. I’m speaking literally, where so many messages seem to have increased in volume, but I’m also talking figuratively – look at the many message streams attacking us these days. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, RSS feeds, e-newsletters, e-blasts, billboards (now they are electronic, so the message changes constantly, and you can see them at night from two miles away), kiosks, radio and TV commercials, 20 minutes of commercials before the movie I just mortgaged my home to buy a ticket for, and the list keeps growing!

I know I’m really starting to sound like that old coot that used to live next door when you were a kid, and kept telling you to “Quiet down!” But I really have a valid point to make with all this rambling, which I believe can be useful in your marketing efforts today.

The truth behind our overall marketing situation today is that there is such a flood of messaging, the only way to stand out is to generate more noise – louder actors in your commercial, more e-blasts, constant Tweets or FB updates – more, more, MORE!

I submit to you that in the face of all this marketing message noise, it might be time to go back to some of the practices we used when our marketing campaigns were all print-based. Back in the “good old days,” before we spent the money to print thousands of flyers, catalogs, ads and other collateral, we spent a great deal of time really thinking through the message, the verbiage, the graphics, the layout, the color scheme – we had to, since once they were printed, the die was cast, the money was spent, and we needed to use what we had. I believe the time is right for a focused, thought-through, well-constructed sales and marketing message approach – it’s the only way left to us to really differentiate our products and services to an overwhelmed marketplace.

Maybe some of you older readers will remember the old TV ad where a couple of people were sitting in a crowded, noisy restaurant, talking about their financial investments, when one would say “My broker is E.F. Hutton, and he says…” and the entire establishment would instantly become quiet, hanging on his next words. The point is that sometimes a simple quiet voice, speaking words that mean something, carry more weight than the loudest claim.

That’s my “expert opinion” – take it for what it’s worth. But, maybe – just maybe – we can stop some of the noise, and get a message out there that people are actually straining to hear.

About the Author: Ed’s an inky at heart – always has been, always will be! After 32 years in the graphic arts industry, mostly in the ink and coating business, Ed has worked for many companies; Wikoff Color, Werneke Inks, Akzo Nobel Inks, Zeller+Gmelin, Chromas/Aquaflex, SICPA North America, Siegwerk, and HP Indigo on the supplier side, and most recently with IGH Solutions in the printing end of the business. From his start in ink production, he has worked in technical service, quality control, R&D, sales, product development, marketing, and business management. Ed now owns his own business, ProtoPrint Technologies (, where he focuses on developing print-related solutions using new technologies. He is also active in the Flexographic Technical Association, serving on the Supplier Leadership Council, and is a co-founder and current President of the Twin Cities Flexo Association.