Talon Mailing & Marketing

561 Acorn Street
Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500


Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing July 2014 Newsletter.

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Five Cost Cutting Tips For Any Direct Mail Package

By Laura Jahn, Americannewsreport.com

These five tips will help you lower costs and improve your bottom line.

In the non-profit world, money matters.

Simply said, we can’t fulfill our program missions without funds, which means we have to fundraise. And for many of us, fundraising means direct mail.

Now, for all of you currently working in direct mail, take a moment and think back to your last really great idea. You, the savvy direct mail professional, were brimming with excitement to pitch this package concept to your team. Maybe it actually made it into mailboxes – if so, well done!

I hope it worked. But instead, it’s possible it got to budget stage and joined the other brilliant-but-abandoned fundraising ideas that were backed by high hopes and limited funds.

On the other hand, maybe you have a control package that’s already performing well; a lower cost to produce can enhance the performance and leave more funds for your mission.

With that said, what if I told you that regardless of the package concept or performance history, just a few factors could save you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on your next DM campaign? Well, there’s no gimmick here, just five fundamental tips to help you save money!

1. Postal Optimization

Postage is typically the most expensive part of any mailing, so if you only remember one thing from this section, I hope it’s this: You have options! Postal optimization warrants much more explanation than these few paragraphs, but most lettershops you work with should have the capabilities to run a postal analysis of your data to help determine the most cost-effective mailing method. For instance, look into mailing methods like drop shipping, commingling and co-palletization, or a combination of these. Each technique was developed to maximize USPS volume or sorting discounts. You don’t need to be an optimization expert to save money on postage, you just need to remember to ask for an analysis and choose the method that best suits your mailing needs.

2. Equipment Fit

When producing your direct mail package, a key question is, does the printed component fit the equipment? It sounds basic, but you can save a lot of money if you take a moment to consider your options.

For instance, let’s say you have a package that calls for a 6x9 reply form. A press printing 8-1/2 x 11 sheets of paper will only produce one 6x9 reply form per sheet. However, if you have the flexibility to change the reply size to 5-1/2 x 8-1/2, you can get two reply forms per sheet. By printing two per sheet you’ll reduce paper waste and machine time, which translates to lower costs for your project.

By adjusting the format to print more efficiently you can do wonders for your bottom line. And don’t worry if you don’t know every machine size or production technique out there, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask your printer partners for their advice on cost savings.

3. Proofread

Ewe May think that spell check is awl you knead, butt…

Instead of relying on a spell checker program, ask a person to critique your package, someone who understands context and grammar. This will increase your chances of submitting error free copy to printers, which will prevent you from making costly corrections at proof stage. Or better still, proofreading could save you thousands by preventing the need for an entire reprint of a component!

With strict deadlines and frequently backlogged work, it’s tempting to skip proofreading in the interest of time, but just a few more minutes spent on the front end will certainly save you hours, dollars and headaches on the backend.

4. Stock

It’s true that direct mail fundraising letters can seem like a sea of white offset, but occasionally there’s a nonprofit campaign that warrants a more creative stock. When that happens, remember that flexibility can save you money.

For example, the next time you specify a name brand paper on your project bid, include the words “or equivalent stock”. This simple phrase is a cue to your printer partners to investigate less expensive and more accessible options that are comparable to the stock you had in mind.

Now let’s get even more creative! Say you want a linen cover text for a paper premium. You could simply order that linen stock, or you could opt for a less expensive smooth stock with a linen textured varnish on top of it. You’ll get the same textured effect for less money!

There’s no steadfast rule for when to switch stock weights, or use a faux finish rather than the real thing, so ask for paper samples and explore your options. There’s nothing to lose, and chances are good you’ll learn a few things and save a bit of money!

5. Ganging Print

Ganging print is the process of printing multiple versions of a component that share the same specs in a single print run. It helps to reduce setup costs, and by bidding print runs in larger quantities, you save money –the higher the volume, the lower the cost per unit.

For instance, if you have an acquisition package you mail each month, try bidding the job to print two or three months at a time. By ganging the printing of multiple months together, you’ll reduce your overall cost per thousand.

It takes coordination, but you can even gang printed components across different packages. As long as the specs are the same, you can reap the benefits of volume discounts.

And there you have it! These five fundamentals can apply to any mail campaign. You don’t have to sacrifice your creative vision to save money. Sometimes you can save by being flexible or asking for recommendations from your printer partners.

Disaster Recovery - How Talon Has Prepared and Planned For Disasters.

By Michael Borkan.    

Did you ever stop to think what would happen if your direct mail vendor was devastated by a fire, hurricane or loss of an employee?

If Talon is your vendor you can sleep better at night.  We have prepared for minor and major disasters by identifying potential problems and implementing solutions.

Disasters such as our building burning to the ground most probably will never happen, but some problems can and probably will occur.  A computer virus, the loss of a key employee, even hardware damage will occur - it's just a matter of time.  Rest assured - Talon is ready!

Listed below are potential problems and how we have prepared.   They are laid out in the order of most probable to occur to least likely. 





Internet Connection goes down

Off Site connection in place.


Virus Damages Computers

Multiple systems (some off-line, and off internet).

State of the art virus & firewall protection software.


Loss of Employee(s)

All reoccurring work is documented and all employees are cross trained.


Loss of Electrical Power

Two power generators kept on site.


Computer Equipment Destroyed

Off site machinery, data files and programs in place & ready to run.

Equipment replacement insurance


Client Inventory lost in fire or flood

Inventory Automatically Insured


Building Destroyed

Insurance covers setting up a new facility and covers subcontracting costs.


Bio Hazard Terror Attack

Special insurance coverage

#1  Internet Connection Goes Down:

What happens if your internet connection is down and your service bureau has an important file that must be sent or an email blast that must go?   Talon has solved this problem by putting a second high speed internet connection and a computer network at our second building.  Our second connection and hardware system is completely independent from our main connection.   Two months ago our internet service was spotty for several days.  During this time our email blasts were run at our second location.  Our clients jobs were processed on time and without problems.

#2  Virus Damages Computers:

It's amazing how many computers lack the latest anti-virus software.  Our virus software will identify problems before they have a chance to inflict damage.  We use the most current virus protection software possible and make sure we get updates as soon as they are ready. 

With the help of our antivirus software, firewalls, and employee training, we have never had a machine affected or damaged by a virus.  If we ever do get struck by a virus we have computer systems that are not connected to the internet or our network and every file and program that we house are backed up.  We would be able to retrieve uninfected data and programs and continue to run.

#3  Loss of Employees:

Ever have a job at a service bureau and the key person is on vacation, sick, or no longer employed there?  At Talon all jobs are clearly documented and each service we offer can be done by a multiple number of employees.  Not only is this good for our clients but our employees benefit too since they can go on vacation without having to perform customer support or worry about projects getting done!

#4  Loss of Power:

Talon has installed two power generators.  Should power go down we can run our computer center.  We even can run our high-speed inkjet and inserting equipment.

#5 Computer Equipment Destroyed:

Talon has a special insurance policy that covers replacement costs for each machine.  Additionally we keep equipment offsite.  If both of our buildings were destroyed Talon has the resources of Delta Computer Group which keeps a disaster recovery data center located in nearby Farmingdale.  All data is backed up three times and one set is kept off site in a secure location. 

#6 Client Inventory Lost In Fire or Flood:

Have you ever stopped to think what would happen to your catalogs or letterhead if your vendor's building was flooded or destroyed by fire?  Our insurance policy covers all of our clients' inventory - automatically, from the moment it is delivered or picked up by our drivers.

#7 Building Destroyed:

Our insurance policy specifically covers all of the costs of getting jobs processed and mailed should our building be destroyed.  If it took an extended period to rebuild our location, our insurance would pay for us to set up a temporary location and/or subcontract out our work. 

#8 Biohazard Terrorist Attacks:

A few years ago our nation was terrified by Anthrax in the mail.  Our insurance carrier has helped us create procedures to protect our buildings from unauthorized personnel entering our production areas.  With the new procedures in place we are insured against someone successfully placing biohazard materials in our mailings.

We have worked hard to make sure we are ready for just about anything.  In addition to these safeguards we also have insurance which allows us to be bonded and we have an errors and omissions policy.

For additional information or if you have questions you can call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11 or by email at mb@talon-mailing.com.

A Dangerous Question: Does Internet Advertising Work at All?

By Derek Thompson, The Atlantic.com

The Internet was supposed to tell us which ads work and which ads don't. But instead it's flooded consumers' brains with reviews, comments, and other digital data that has diluted the power of advertising altogether.

Research is getting closer to quantifying exactly how few people click on Internet ads and exactly how ineffective they are. It's not a pretty picture.

The Problem With Search

Search ads are magic, in a way. Search catches consumers at the moment they're actually looking for something. It shrinks the famous "purchase funnel" to its final stage and gives us tailored answers when we're asking a specific question.

That's the theory.  But a new controlled study on search ads from eBay research labs suggests that companies like Google vastly exaggerate the effectiveness of search.

For example, consider what happens when I look up a brand, like Nike. An ad for Nike.com appears just above an organic link to ... Nike.com.

Campaigns like this have "no measurable short-term benefits," the researchers concluded. They merely give consumers a perfect substitute for the link they would have clicked anyway. (The only way it would add value is if Nike is paying to keep a rival like Adidas out of the top slot).

But what about more common searches for things like "buy camera" or "best cell phone," where many different companies are bidding to answer our queries? A well-placed search ad ought to grab curious consumers at the peak of their interest.

But in a study of search ads bought by eBay, the most frequent Internet users—who see the vast majority of ads; and spend the most money online—weren't any more likely to buy stuff from eBay after seeing search ads. The study concluded that paid-search spending was ironically concentrated on the very people who were going to buy stuff on eBay, anyway.

'I Was Gonna Buy It, Anyway'

I'm not fully convinced that search ads are as ineffective as this paper suggested. To their credit, the authors admit that other studies about Google have found search to have higher ROI.

But the big idea behind their research is powerful. Academics call it endogeneity. We can call it the I-was-gonna-buy-it-anyway problem. Some ads persuade us to buy. Some ads tell us to buy something we were already going to buy, anyway. It's awfully hard to figure out which is which.

Enter Facebook, the second-biggest digital ad company in the U.S. Just as Google is synonymous with search, Facebook is ubiquitous with social. The News Feed is the most sophisticated content algorithm ever. The company represents the spine of so many apps and sites that it can marshal an astonishing (and growing) amount of data about us.

 In 2012, Facebook partnered with Datalogix, a firm that measures the shopping habits of 100 million U.S. families, to see if people who went on Facebook and saw ads for, say, Hot Pockets, were more likely to go out and buy Hot Pockets. According to Facebook's internal studies, the ads weren't getting many clicks, but they were working brilliantly. “Of the first 60 campaigns we looked at, 70 percent had a 3X or better return-on-investment—that means that 70 percent of advertisers got back three times as many dollars in purchases as they spent on ads,” Sean Bruich, Facebook’s head of measurement platforms and standards, told Farhad Manjoo.

There are a few reasons to be skeptical when Facebook concludes that its ads are working spectacularly. First is the basic B.S.-detector blaring inside your soul saying you shouldn't automatically believe companies who say "our research has apparently concluded unambiguously that we are awesome." Facebook, ad agencies, and ad consultants all benefit from more ad spending.

Second, there's that pesky I-was-gonna-buy-it-anyway bias. Let's say I want to buy a pair of glasses. I live in New York, where people like Warby Parker. I've shopped for glasses at Warby Parker's website. Facebook knows both of these things. So no surprise that today I saw a Warby Parker sponsored post on my News Feed.

Now, let's say I buy glasses from Warby Parker tomorrow. What can we logically conclude? That Facebook successfully converted a sale? Or that the many factors Facebook considered before showing me that ad—e.g.: what my friends like and my past shopping behavior—are the same factors that might persuade anybody to buy a pair of glasses long before they signed into Facebook?

Maybe Facebook has mastered the art of using advertising to convert sales. Or maybe it's mastered the art of finding people who were going to buy certain items anyway and showing them ads after they already made their decision.

Too Much Information

The eBay study suggested that people who click most ads aren't being influenced.

The Facebook study suggested that people who are being influenced aren't actually clicking ads.

It makes you wonder whether clicks matter, at all.

Think about how much you can learn about products today before seeing an ad. Comments, user reviews, friends' opinions, price-comparison tools: These things aren’t advertising (although they're just as ubiquitous). In fact, they’re much more powerful than advertising because we consider them information rather than marketing. The difference is enormous: We seek information, so we're more likely to trust it; marketing seeks us, so we're more likely to distrust it.

Measuring and predicting individual purchases has never been easy. But measuring and predicting how everybody's purchase is affecting everybody else's shopping behavior in the Panopticon of the Internet is practically impossible.

The Internet was supposed to tell us which ads work and which ads don't. Instead, it's flooded consumers' brains with reviews, comments, and other information that has diluted the power of advertising. The more we learn about how consumers make decisions, the more we learn we don't know.

Win Yankee Tickets!

Enjoy a great day at Yankee Stadium!

We are giving away two tickets to see the New York Yankees. 

All you have to do to win is be the first telephone caller (please don’t hit reply or send an email). Voice mail messages count so it's fine to leave a message.  Call Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.  These tickets are great seats and close to the field! 

  • Wednesday July 23rd, 2014.  Yankees vs. Texas Rangers 7:05 PM.

Do you know of anyone else who would be interested in receiving our newsletter?  Please let us know by email:  mb@talon-mailing.com

To learn more about our company, please visit our Web site: www.talon.com or contact Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.

If you do not wish to receive the Talon Mailing & Marketing Newsletter please click here: 



In this Issue:

Five Cost Cutting Tips For Any Direct Mail Package

Disaster Recovery - How Talon Has Prepared and Planned For Disasters

A Dangerous Question: Does Internet Advertising Work at All?

Ticket Giveaway!

New Clients

Mike Borkan's Links - Web sites you probably haven't seen

View Samples of Our Work

Newsletter Archives

Direct Mail Humor!

New Clients:

Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing roster of customers:
  • Adcomm Digital

  • OriginLab

  • 5 New Lists from Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

todoist.com - Todoist lets you manage your tasks anywhere. At home. At school. At work. Online. Offline. And on 13 platforms and devices.

bentobox.io - Everything you need to know about web development in one convenient place.

creativecriminals.com - A blog with a daily variety of creative and unique advertisements from around the world.

hackdesign.org - A design site that lets you learn at your own pace. With articles, videos, and tutorials curated by some of the world's best designers , there's no easier way to learn design this year.

usefulscience.org - Summaries of the latest science useful in life. Everything from health, fitness, and nutrition, to productivity, happiness, sleep, and creativity.

you.regettingold.com - A fascinating website that offers facts and statistics relating to a person's lifetime once their date of birth is entered.

Work Samples:

Did you know Talon offers the following services? 

Click on the links below to see samples.

Direct Mail Humor!

Click on image below to enlarge.

Do you need help marketing to your clients?   Talon can help!  Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11 to learn how to increase revenue.

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