By Sid Chadwick – 06/21/19
Published in American Printer

“We want to emphasize “Packaging” to our members….but we’re not sure where to start…….especially since we’re pursuing smaller-sized company members…”…………………….Association’s Board Member Comment 


This evolving story has more than one chapter — yet to be written.

Several long-term industry-wide observations:

  1. Many (possibly most…?) commercial printing companies have one or more die-cutters in their plant. Too many of those companies use their die-cutting presses — less than one full shift. Die-cutting and packaging… tends to have higher value-added revenue…and generates additional flat-sheet color work.
  2. Those same companies tend to have 100’s of die-boards of tooling (some have 1,000’s of die-boards of tooling), stacked vertically, in and around their Bindery.
  3. Most companies know… that their die-boards are neither catalogued, nor inventoried and drawn-up re. what those die-boards can produce. Production personnel, Estimators, and experienced CSR’s and Sales Reps — tend to work from memory re. which die-boards their company has.
  4. Customers of those companies do NOT know what die-board tooling those companies have — sitting in their Bindery — other than the projects they’ve historically requested. In other words, customers of those companies do NOT know what those companies are capable of producing, what they could produce….as a creative die-cut design….as a packaging design.
  5. Packaging — and labeling — are growing markets — now, and long-term. “Cottage start-up businesses” — that produce something, tend to need packaging… and usually labeling (e.g., for shipping, carrying, protection, etc.) — are cropping-up — in almost every non-residential zip code….across the U.S. Those “cottage businesses” tend to want sharp, visually aesthetic packaging ….. for their products (think “Printing”….!).
  6. Companies that produce products — that require packaging and labeling — tend to want a “retail on-the-shelf look” — for their products and packaging — for shipment, and display. (Even after a product is bought, it gives off 1,000’s of potential images — in the life and use of the product — through its packaging.)
  7. Big-gun packaging…and envelope converting companies… especially those near you, tend to not like — short production runs in their production schedule!

So what do we do with that information and perspective?

No. 1: Draw-up the design of every die-board you have in your inventory…plus write-up copy of applications….for each design (e.g., pocket folders, ticket holders, door hangers, car service tags, corporate Express Letter Envelopes., etc).

No. 2.  Print-up your corporate “Die-Cut Packaging Catalog” — and make sure …..every designer……..and corporate marketing department — gets multiple copies…with enthusiastic, thoughtful explanations of the value of your corporate Die-Cut and Packaging Catalog.

Note:  Your creative customers’ personnel are starved for intellectual stimulation, and creative ideas…..You have just become “the local expert”…. making it easy for those creative professionals…. to come to you — first!

Now Let’s Turn to the…. BIG Market — Direct Mail & Direct Marketing


  1. Direct Mail and Direct Marketing experts tell us that the no. 1 challenge is — “Get the offer opened,…”
  2. Direct Mail and Direct Marketing experts tell us that the response rate for direct mail and direct marketing…. has continued to drop — to dreadful levels — yet is far above emails being opened and read. (We know of a smart, big bank… that is delighted to get a 1.5-2% response rate to their 2 million mailings — each month.)
  3. Here it comes…………..wait for it…………….wait for it……..
    All Packages Get Opened……!”
  4.  What’s the value to a direct mail program — if your package design quadruples…. their response rate….?

Storyline: One of our clients recently prepared an exclusive mailing to their customer’s high-end car dealerships — each dealership receiving approx. 10,000 promotional  “packages”  —  to be mailed….. All promotions and offers went into Packages….with their customer knowing…in advance……..that all their Promotional Packages…..would be opened…..!


A treasured client in central South Carolina, just a few years back, listened to my recommendation, subsequently produced two successive editions of their corporate Die-Cut and Packaging Catalog….and then last year — had to invest in major, high-speed Die-cutting equipment, that now runs — more than one shift.

Packaging…..a market that’s waiting for many companies to step-up and into…..However….the theme here is that you want to look at your undeveloped and underutilized capabilities……..….and then your (potential) customers’ interests….. and potential needs…..from your customers’ standpoint….to see and understand…. what direction to go…. next….that rewards you, and your organization.

Packaging…and die-cutting…..are one of you options…..with a long future…..!

Footnote: It’s believed by this writer that our industry’s first Die-Cut and Packaging Catalog was developed at Hutchison-Allgood, about 1986. Because of the intellectual power of that innovation, Business Development leadership at that company believed they’d created a “door-opener” – for any designer, agency, or corporation — large or small — they wanted to pursue.

That innovation reminds me of an unforgettable comment…. from a recognized industry leader:

“Ultimately, we are Teachers”………….Wanzie Collins, CEO, Panaprint

“All Packages Get Opened”……….Sid Chadwick, Chadwick Consulting, Inc.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *