Old School Cool: How to Build Your Business With Conventional Marketing


By Shana Clarke

As Soloists, we’re working in a new type of economy - the gig economy - and reinventing ourselves in innovative ways, We’re constantly working with new technologies and platforms in order to further our success. But sometimes, revisiting the classics can get you ahead; Steve Isaacson, a fourth generation printer at Isaacson Associates, shares how an old-school sensibility and rethinking classic marketing techniques, can help his, and other Soloists’ businesses.


In many ways, printing is like the gig economy; each print job is like a session with a client, and once you’ve completed the work you need to find something new. In an increasingly digital world, Steve says the nature of his industry has changed and finding new customers is challenging. However, he notes how his skill sets evolved to meet the new printing platforms. “[I’m valued for] my good eyes; I look at things and see them in different ways. Nowadays people look at a computer monitor and even what you see on screen is very different than what you’re going to get when you print.” He learned various programs so he can translate digital files into print-ready ones, something not all digital designers know how to do. Knowing the basics of your industry is invaluable. “I work on a huge variety of projects. I’m old-school ways living in a modern technology world; I bring both to the table and can offer lots of solutions.”   

Although many of the ways we promote ourselves is done online, Steve believes classic printed pieces can disrupt the digital norm and give your business visibility.  At networking groups, “having a card that stands out from the pack” makes you memorable, he says. Printed mail still holds value, he says, and he can help businesses reach desired neighborhoods or areas with targeted mailings. Beyond paper, branded items such as T-shirts, act as “a walking billboard for your business.”

Instead of paying vast amounts of money for website development, SEO optimization, and online/ social media advertising, Steve thinks using codes or other trackable measures on printed pieces can yield the same, if not better results, than digital marketing means.

No one can dispute that technology has made our lives and businesses better; however, it does create new challenges, such as the need to adapt to ever-changing technology that may become obsolete in a few years.  Steve sees a place for classic marketing and promotional techniques in our ever-changing world. Sometimes, it’s the familiar that becomes groundbreaking.

Interested in working with Steve? Contact him at steve@isaacsonassociates.com

Soloist Collective