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Webb Featured in Printing News Magazine
Interview with John De Santis, Webb Communications
Global Need for Marketing Spurs Online, Print Work at Webb

Managing Editor David Lindsay, was looking for insight into the international printing market for the readers of Printing News, one of the oldest print industry publications. Webb Communications Vice President, John De Santis shared his experience in managing print projects across the world for projects that ranged from design of postage stamps to full issues of magazines.

This cover story focused in part on Webb's core international team, it's partners in Milan Verona and Barcelona, the high end print work developed in Italy and the online programs developed by Webb Communications.

Printing News
Excerpts From Cover Story:
Interview with John De Santis, Webb Communications
Global Need for Marketing Spurs Online, Print Work at Webb

By David Lindsay
Long after the dot-com bust shoehorned the infinite possibilities of creative design into a smaller pool of customers willing to pay for professional results, a New York-based Web marketing and design firm is branching out by leveraging relationships and pushing quality in communications. Quality, it turns out, often means print.

The nine-year-old company, Webb Communications, is run by Steven Collins, its president, and John De Santis. As a former art director for the United Nations, Mr. De Santis sourced print work across the globe—an idea that he would later bring to Webb Communications.

“It’s almost impossible to stay in business in New York if you’re just a Web developer,” notes Mr. De Santis. While the firm works with clients in a number of industries for Web sites, online customer loyalty programs, and other products, Webb has found a market for high-end print for some clients, particularly those interested in sourcing work overseas. To achieve this, Mr. De Santis, Webb’s art director, and a three-person team of designers based in Barcelona, Spain, actively source long-run work to European printers, specifically high-end firms in Italy. The quality of the work, notes Mr. De Santis, is renowned at printing firms around Milan, where fashion houses demand the ultimate in color fidelity, or in the nation’s museum districts, where fine art printing is considered an art unto itself.

More Quotes From Article

"The most cost-effective way for a European firm to enter the [United States] is online.”
John De Santis. 

The printing is not only high in quality; it was once relatively cheap, thanks to exchange rates. “Two years ago,” Mr. De Santis says, “we were buying printing for half the price, and the price would include travel to Italy for a client to monitor the print run. It was a no-brainer.” Now, with the decline of the dollar against the euro, sending print work to China is a legitimate option for cost-conscious buyers.

Jobs that go from the United States to Italy, Mr. De Santis adds, do so mainly on the outstanding reputation the printers have made for themselves. Fortunately for Mr. De Santis, some jobs still go to Europe through Webb Communications. Often, it is a case of quality over cost, coupled with the need to distribute materials in Europe once they are printed.

For Mr. De Santis, however, customer service demands the right print company for the product. Webb’s shorter-run jobs, he explains, are often sourced through local printers or brokers. In-house, Webb handles a range of online marketing and database management offerings, selling them overseas. In fact, it is Webb’s extensive online work that has made the company more attractive than ever to European firms. In Europe, an Italy-based Webb Communications sales executive is able to offer dollar-based values for marketing programs. With the weaker U.S. currency, “we are a bargain right now for new media development,” says Mr. De Santis.

For makers of Italian products seeking entree into the United States, Webb has the appropriate cultural contacts and the right offerings. “The most cost-effective way for a European firm to enter the [ United States] is online,” Mr. De Santis states. For example, when Birra Peroni, an Italian beer maker, sought to offer its dealers’ incentive, Webb developed an online program specifically for the United States. When that job evolved, Webb was able to manage another print project that met Mr. De Santis’ expertise precisely.

The firm is branching out to other parts of Europe, as well. Webb already utilizes personnel in several nations: designers in Spain, a sales executive in Italy, and a partner technology firm in the Netherlands. It is drawing clientele from new places and looking at new printers abroad. One client is an Irish newspaper that needed online classifieds and subscription engines. Anglo-Dutch publishing giant Reed Elsevier has also used Webb for online subscription work. As far as printers go, Mr. De Santis examines the overall European market. For instance, he will follow the news that printers in Poland have a good eye for craftsmanship, but don’t have the higher labor costs of Western Europe.

If currency values ever return to historic levels, Mr. De Santis is sure to handle even more print work through Italian firms—complete with the overseas press check. After all, selling print gets a little easier when a free weekend in wine country comes with the order. PN

About John De Santis
John De Santis, vice president Webb Communications and co-founder of BrightRewards.com, has developed and managed high-impact communications solutions for over 15 years in publishing, marketing and international markets. John’s experience incorporates business development, creative direction of new media content, marketing, direction of corporate and international government campaigns. John manages business development in the Italian and European markets. John also serves on the board of directors of the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce.

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