Forming the Future
How will the audible gasp on Wall Street heard round the world last month further impact the beleagured business form? What could the current fundamental financial funk mean for sales professionals trying to offer business forms to customers scrounging for business band aids? It’s the nature of forms to correct business woes, and many manufacturers are confident forms will simply continue to morph into marketplace-relevant products as needs are reevaluated. Here, two forms manufacturers offer their insights on evolving product lines.
At Harleysville, Pennsylvania-based Alcom Printing, web offset work is holding its own, reported Sal Caimano, director of business development, but digital capabilities are the key to the future. “Growth is definitely in digital and direct mail,” he observed. “This seems like a contradiction, since digital and direct mail often don’t equate to the dollar volume that a big web job would bring in, but we realize the industry is changing and those big web jobs are not what they used to be. So, we’ve adjusted and are positioned pretty well.”
Industry professionals are helping their customers adjust, also, which means suggesting digital alternatives to some traditional form solutions. Consider the popular 81⁄2x11” letter formats folded three times into a #10 envelope along with a business reply envelope used in direct mail applications, or the 81⁄2x141⁄2” letter with a tear-off bre. Alcom Printing offers a one component product instead, which is meeting with great success.
The product involves two 81⁄2x11” forms joined together and folded twice to create a self mailer featuring an integrated business reply card. “It’s very concise and [end-users] easily grasp the concept,” said Caimano. “They can see at once, ‘okay, this is my message, my call to action, my reply mechanism and the envelope all tied into one.’ They don’t have to worry so much about the individual components and all the other decisions that would normally go into [the project]. Their focus can remain on objectives and expectations. It makes for a simple sale and the product is easy for recipients to use, which helps drive up the response rate.”