Print is the foundation of an increasingly complex cross media environment. Consumers are enjoying more connectivity and control than ever before. This requires a fresh look at your creative approach, value proposition, media mix and budget — not only the cost of individual elements of a campaign, but also any required investment in technology and training. A clear strategy is essential for success, building on the fundamentals of marketing: understanding your customers and meeting their wants, needs and desires.
Identify the purpose of each tactic. The idea isn’t to throw every cool new technology into the mix; it’s to combine the components in such a way that the result is a successful campaign based on reach, frequency and response rate. Establish contact by mailing a customized postcard, letter or self-mailer that drives the reader to a personalized URL. Offer the option of connecting to the site by either entering a web address or scanning a QR code. Here the respondent can sign up for an email list and find links to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, opening the door to regular communication. Make sure content is consistent in message, look and feel across print and digital platforms.
Move beyond simple demographics. It’s tempting to use basic information, such as gender, age, and income, to guide your marketing efforts. Go a step further to understand what your prospects care about. Today’s consumer wants to be an individual, not a segment. The more personalized an offer is (the right message delivered in the right way), the more inclined the target audience is to respond favorably.
Measure your success. The diverse spectrum of media options has created an intense demand to demonstrate return on investment. How will you define success? Connect each element of the cross media campaign to a reasonable target. For example, state that the direct mail piece will drive a certain number of hits on your website, and the website will entice a defined percentage of visitors to request more information. This, in turn, will result in a specific amount of new business.
The convergence of print, online, mobile, and social media empowers consumers to respond in the way they prefer. Keep an eye to the future; be ready to embrace the next innovation that will give you one more option for delivering relevant content to your target customers.
An investment in branding can pay off in many ways.
An effective brand creates an enduring perception in the minds of your customers and distinguishes you from your competitors.
Increase mind share. When you want a cola, you think of Coca-Cola or Pepsi. If you need a bandage, Band-Aid comes to mind. Are you top-of-mind in your market segment? The sensory components of printed materials engage readers on an emotional level, connecting customers to your brand in a way electronic marketing can’t match. Consider incorporating a gloss varnish, embossing, a distinctive die cut, or one of the many textures now available in papers and other substrates.
Build loyalty. A memorable experience with a quality brand creates loyalty, which translates not only into the likelihood of a repeat sale but also an increased probability that the customer will buy related items from the same brand.
Benefit from referrals. People who have never used your product or service may still recommend it if they’ve encountered your brand enough times to develop a sense of familiarity. Printed collateral can be more visible to the casual observer as the prospect doesn’t have to consciously seek out your message. Include your social media information on your printed products.
Command a premium price. A powerful brand can lift your product or service out of the ambit of a commodity, so you have buyers eager to pay more for what you’re selling. Many companies sell coffee, so what makes people stand in line and pay top dollar at Starbucks?
Lower your marketing cost in the long run. Although you have to invest resources to create a strong brand, once it is established you can maintain it without having to re-tell your story. Many budget-conscious marketers rely heavily on electronic media, but research shows that people still prefer print. We simply don’t have the same visceral reaction to an e-brochure as a professionally printed piece.
Less risk for the consumer equals more sales for you. If someone is put on the spot to make a decision, he will most likely choose the brand-name supplier. Consider monthly postcard marketing so prospects interact with your brand regularly. Printed materials have the advantage over electronic media based on portability and permanence.
Building an effective brand is a continuous process. Evaluate your brand’s market position periodically to make sure it’s fresh and relevant.