October 20, 2009

The story behind the Perch MiniCards

As you know, we’ve updated the features on MiniCards. You can upload an image for the front and the back – and there are some other neat features too. On the MiniCards page, you’ll find some images of real cards. Ones our customers have made – like these, from Perch:

We contacted Perch after seeing their cards at dConstruct, a conference in Brighton. We liked them so much, we wondered what they’d do with the new features we had planned for MiniCards. The cards above are the ones they made, and this is the story behind them.

Perch is a “really little” content management system. (Their words, not ours!) It’s designed to be simple, straightforward, and easy to get running, so that even internet novices can edit content on a small website with no muss and no fuss. The really little CMS also has a really neat little price and, confesses Drew McLellan, Director and Senior Developer at edgeofmyseat.com, the company behind Perch, a slimmed-down marketing budget to match.

Despite this, Perch have been using their MiniCards to do mighty things. Things that might have carried a hefty price tag with another printer. Prior to launch, Perch produced a batch of MOO MiniCards with a special 20% discount code on the back – a time-tested, traditional way to promote a product, which gave people a reason to hold onto the card until the company went live.

After launch, they began to look at new ways to market themselves, by sponsoring conferences, and speaking about Perch at events. In order to test the effectiveness of such activities, they needed a way to track where their site visitors had heard about the product – and this is where the mighty MiniCard things started happening.

Rather than the general discount card they’d used previously, Perch ordered some new MiniCards, with unique discount codes on the front where the photo normally goes. They wrote some software to generate the codes, and output an XML file that they then “mail merged” into their images using the Data-Driven Graphics tool in Adobe Fireworks. This created 100 unique images for each batch of MiniCards, which they then uploaded as part of each order.

“The ability to have 100 unique cards in a run of 100 has been fantastic for us”, says Drew. “Doing it any other way would have been a nightmare. Firstly it would have been difficult just to find someone able to do it, and you can bet it would have been expensive – probably too expensive to be worth doing! Now when someone uses a discount code, we can tell which event they picked up the card at by tracking the code back through our systems.”

Perch also find MOO’s short print runs to be very handy, because each batch they order is a small commitment both financially, and in terms of strategy. Fresh illustration work, a small tweak to the logo – all can be incorporated into the MiniCards next time a batch is produced. “The fact that we order 100 cards at a time means it’s no hassle to make that sort of change”, says Drew, “and it’s great to order up some new cards knowing that the wastage from the old cards is really minimal. We’ve probably got about £5-worth of unused old design cards sitting around, which is nothing. If we were printing traditionally at volume then you’re tied in and can’t stay nimble.”

“MOO’s generally our first port of call when we need something printed”, says Drew. “We’ve been really pleased with the quality and the ability to click a few things on a web page and have something physical that you’ve created turn up at your door is awesome.”

Thanks to Drew for taking the time to talk to us – and thanks to Anne-Marie for writing this up. Find out more about Perch and what it can do for you, or make some MiniCards of your own.


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