Hi Jill and thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions. Im especially honored to interview you since you were the person who started my blogging career by asking me to submit an article for the Millcraft Paper Blog.  So it’s your fault that you have now become my subject!

With that being said…

DC: Who is Jill DiNicolantonio and what does she do?

JD: Wow, that’s a loaded question. At heart, I’m a paper geek. I love paper – every thing about it. Even as a kid, I was smitten with it – I had a killer stationary collection by age 10.  I started out as “spec rep” in the Cleveland, Ohio market – basically working with print buyers and specifiers (designers, print sales reps, production managers, etc.), helping them find the right substrate for their print projects. Today I head up the development of Millcraft’s eBusiness department. I am still focusing on the same message just to a broader audience.  There is a large and growing number of paper and print buyers that prefer to communicate online. My focus is to support that group and make it as easy as possible for them to connect with us however they chose – whether its via our e-commerce site MyMillcraft.com, through our social media channels like LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, or other online resources like Print Media Centr.

DC: What is the Print Advocacy & Sustainability Campaign?

JD: Do You Know The Facts? Is an integrated marketing campaign aimed to educate people on the environmental and business benefits of print as an effective means of marketing communications.  Our industry is a leader in environmental sustainability, but we haven’t done such a great job of touting it.  Someow as digital communications grew, our industry got slammed, people actually thought we were “tree killers,” destroying old growth forests – that couldn’t be further from the truth. For example, the paper industry generates more renewable energy than solar, wind, and geo-thermal combined – that’s huge.

At Millcraft, we felt compelled to do our part to help dispel the myths out there about our industy – and Do You Know The Facts? was the result.  The campaign revolves around a three minute animated video and microsite.  The goal is to not only raise awareness but to provide resources to those within the print community to help get the message out that print on paper is a responsible, sustainable and proven method of marketing communications. We’re not only promoting print’s success as part of an integrated marketing campaign, but proving it’s ROI as part of the campaign itself. We’re utilizing print ads and direct mail – both of which feature QR codes. We’ve also got tools available for registrants of the campaign to use, like promotion pieces that can be customized with the registrant’s company logo, including powerpoint presentations, sell sheets, and direct mail pieces.

DC: I didnt realize that Millcraft was a Certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBENC).  How do customers benefit from that?

JD: Well, for many companies sustainability is more than just a buzz word, its part of their core beliefs.  Sustainability encompasses, environmental, social, and economic responsibility. We can help provide these companies with a means of achieving their diversity goals and ultimately contributing to their triple bottom line.

We were just recognized by WBENC as one of the top WBE’s in the country. It’s funny, Millcraft has been woman owned for three generations but it wasn’t until one our partners, Limited Brands, approached us about becoming WBE certified, that we thought it was anything worth noting.  Historically, the industry has been somewhat of a “good ole boys” club, and promoting the fact that you are woman owned was more likely to prove alienating than inviting. We became certified in 2005, and have been able to provide our business partners with diversity spend dollars ever since.  This has been beneficial to many of our end user customers that have had difficulty meeting their diversity goals. Typically end users have large marketing budgets with print making up a significant percentage of that budget, by purchasing paper directly from Millcraft those dollars qualify as tier one diversity spend dollars.  Alternatively if the printer purchases the paper from us they can provide tier two diversity spend dollars to that end user. It’s been a nice value add for many of our customers.

DC: Is Millcraft using Social Media to promote its products and services?

JD: Yes, I’m proud to say we were one of the first in our industry to embrace social media.  We started out with a blog in April 2009 called Full Circle.  The blog is dedicated to all things paper + print + design. From there we’ve grown with a group on LinkedIn (also called Full Circle), two fan pages on Facebook – one for Millcraft Paper and one for Do You Know The Facts? We can also be found on Twitter and YouTube. In addition we have four e-newsletters as well as a B2B e-commerce site, MyMillcraft.com.  So many of our customers have different interests and ways they choose to work, by supporting these channels we can reach out to them in all the ways they want to work.

DC: Design is to Paper as…

JD: Milk is to Cookies.

DC: On average each day, how many people pronounce your last name correctly?

JD: That depends on how many actually attempt it. Luckily, I’m the only Jill at Millcraft.

DC: FSC/PCW/Recycled… what do designers and Print Buyers need to know to make the best decisions?

JD: Ok, first off just because you are using recycled paper does not necessarily mean that you have made an eco-friendly choice. Recycled doesn’t contain PCW, but refers to recycling the waste after the paper roll is trimmed (pre-consumed fiber). That goes back into the pulper, enabling the paper to claim recycled content. It’s like when you make cutout cookies and re-use the leftover dough scraps to roll out again. That being said, PCW is not the be all and end all of for making environmentally friendly paper choices. I did a blog post a while back on 5 steps to specifying eco-friendly paper, it breaks is down pretty simply.

DC: Lastly, if you were going to give the commencement speech at John Carroll University, what would your message be regarding the future of the Paper Industry?

JD: I’m not sure where the future of the paper industry is headed, that’s the million dollar question these days.  I will say this, paper and print will always play a part in how we communicate.  As does radio today, as does TV today. The reality is that we want things fast, so while print will always be a part of things, its role in the mix will probably be different – that doesn’t mean it can’t be effective or profitable.  In fact, just the opposite.  We’re in a time when we have the ability to market to a specific audience and create something very targeted. While the average run size may not be 25,000 any more, the opportunity to produce an effective print promotion on beautiful paper featuring high quality photography, creative design, and clever copy is greater than ever – and so is the likelihood it will generate a higher ROI.  Just look at rise of the magalog and the recent findings by a comScore study – twice as many online purchases are made by catalog recipients.

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