Are You Designing for Visual Impairment?

When we think about selecting a font for a print marketing piece, we tend to think about the creative aspects of the selection. Does it match the branding? Will it convey the right message (strength, creativity, whimsy) to the target audience? But there are some practical issues that need to be considered as well. These relate to readability.

Not everyone in your target audience has the same level of vision. Older members might be facing issues like cataracts, macular degeneration, or glaucoma. Even younger consumers may have untreated amblyopia or eye teaming. These visual issues make reading challenging. If your audience has trouble just reading the words, the larger marketing message will get lost.

According to the American Foundation for the Blind, when choosing a font, here are some specific things to consider for target audiences (or portions of those audiences) who might be facing vision issues:

Font type: Use easily recognizable characters in fonts such as standard Roman or Arial. Avoid decorative fonts.

Font size: Increase the font size to make it easier to read. This is especially important for in-store displays, signage, and other materials that may be read from a distance.

Serif vs. sans serif: For maximum readability, use a sans serif typeface.

Bold it. When possible, use bold type because the thickness of the letters makes the print more legible.

Contrast: Choose colors and type styles that contrast from background. The more contrast, the easier the font is to read. You may want to avoid using italics or all capital letters. Both make it more difficult to differentiate letters.

If you are going to a general audience, it might be worth segmenting out specific age groups or other demographics and including font selection and sizing as part of the customization.

Need help choosing the right font for your audience or segmenting your projects to get the right match between the two? Let us help.

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3 Ways to Make More of Your Data

One of the biggest misconceptions about 1:1 (personalized) printing is that marketers don’t have enough of the data to create personalized, highly relevant campaigns. This might be true in some cases, but you might also be overlooking ways to do more with the data you already have.

Here are three ways to maximize the use of existing data:

  1. Revive existing customer relationships.

Find those customers that used to order frequently but who might have dropped off the map. Send them a note telling them you missed them. Ask them to fill out a survey (to find out why) and offer a coupon encouraging them to come back.

  1. Cross-sell and upsell.

While prospecting is an important part of marketing, your most profitable relationships are the customers who already buy from you. Take advantage of these relationships by proactively cross-selling and upselling relevant products of use to them. If you are an auto dealer and know a customer’s lease is about to expire on a Toyota Corolla, for example, send a personalized brochure appealing to all of the benefits of upgrading to a Toyota Camry.

  1. Start a loyalty program.

Ask existing customers to join a loyalty program. These programs encourage customers to maintain their relationship with you based on deals. Buy nine, get the tenth free. Earn discounts and free stuff based on shopping frequency or referrals. Sometimes loyalty program benefits are discounts and free merchandise, but especially for luxury items, exclusive access and insider information can be powerful incentives, too. If you are a local winery, ask tour visitors to sign up for a wine club. Offer insider “deals” like exclusive wine tastings and access to lectures from local celebrities.

Need help maximizing your existing customer data? We’ve got great ideas. Just ask!


Personalized Marketing: It’s Mainstream

From personalized coupons at the checkout counter to “just for you” recommendations at Amazon.com, personalized marketing is everywhere.

While some marketers are still deciding whether to take the plunge into this “new” form of marketing in print, fully personalized documents have been around for a long time. Back in 2010 (“Capturing the Cross-Media Direct Marketing Opportunity”), InfoTrends found that the overwhelming majority of marketers were already using segmented (40%) or fully personalized (21%) communications. Only 40% of campaigns fit into the category of “one to many.” This means that if you are sending static mail pieces, you’re competing with marketers who are not only speaking to their customers and prospects on a personalized level, but they are seasoned at doing so. If your competitors are personalizing and you are not, you are at a competitive disadvantage.

Need to get started? Even with a simple basic customer list, here are steps you can take:

  1. Personalize by name.

Use the recipient’s name creatively. Integrate it into the design in an interesting, eye-catching way.

  1. Target by a single, simple variable.

Will it help to target the mailing by gender? How about by ZIP code? Would it help to add a map? (This works great for new businesses or new branches or locations.) These are data you already have. Use them!

  1. Beef up your marketing database.

Purchase simple variables like home ownership or household income for the names you already have. Adding to your database is not expensive, and it can boost your marketing effectiveness exponentially.

Need help? Talk to us about how you can put data to use to create a more personal relationship with your customers.


3 Reasons to Care About Customer Loyalty

When it comes to boosting revenues, many companies focus on acquiring new customers. In fact, according to Econsultancy’s “Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2014,” 44% of marketers are placing a greater focus on customer acquisition than customer retention. Only 18% are focusing more on customer retention. However, focusing on acquisition to the exclusion of customer retention may not be the best strategy. Here’s why:

  1. The 80-20 rule applies in marketing, too. Research shows that 80% of a company’s revenues come from 20% of its customers. These 20% love your brand and find value in a relationship with your company. Identifying and courting those customers can be enormously profitable.
  2. The chances of making a sale to a new customer ranges from 5–20%, according to Marketing Metrics. By contrast, the likelihood of selling to an existing customer jumps to 60–70%. Your existing customers can be your most lucrative. You want to keep them.
  3. According to Peppers & Rogers, it can cost up to seven times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. For this reason, it can take up to one full year before a new customer becomes profitable. Once you’ve acquired those new customers, you need to keep them.

On board with customer retention? Let us help you identify your most profitable customers and craft a great customer retention campaign!


Better Branding in Print

Print marketing does more than communicate a message about your products and services. It communicates about your brand. The elements of your printed pieces send a strong message whether you realize it or not. Here are five tips for communicating the right brand messages:

  1. Have a consistent brand message across channels. From piece to piece and across channels (print, email, in-store displays), make sure your brand is consistent. Use the same color palettes, the same (or similar) imagery, and a tightly controlled logo. Create a similar look and feel, even if the design isn’t identical. All communications from your company should send an identifiable brand message.
  2. Tell a story. Print is a great storyteller. Say you are selling fried chicken and wings. Instead of promoting “Wings 25% off this Friday only!” why not try something different? “It’s kick-off time and what’s for dinner? Not pizza AGAIN! Spice it up with our hot wings instead!”
  3. Identify and target thought leaders. There are people out there talking about your brand. Find them and target them with brand-building messages. This builds word of mouth, which (when positive) is the most valuable marketing you can get. In the world of consumer marketing, these people are often called “instigators.” Find out who they are and create targeted messaging just for them.
  4. Use testimonials. Whether it’s in print, online, or social media, people believe testimonials over traditional messaging. Begin collecting testimonials and add snippets to your postcards, direct mail letters, in-store signage, and other print marketing materials.
  5. Don’t skimp on quality. Sure, you could print out those brochures on your in-house inkjet printer, but quality is part of your brand message. Having professionally produced print materials is a sign of a trustworthy business. Printing on the cheap sends the wrong message.

Every print document you send or display sends a brand message. Make sure you’re sending the right ones.


We Make 1:1 Printing Easy

It used to be that, in order to create powerful 1:1 print campaigns, you had to be both a marketing wizard and a database master. No more. Today, the software does much of the work for you. The secret is in the Web portal where your content, your templates, and your data are maintained in a centralized location with easy-to-use interfaces.

The process starts by brainstorming a marketing project and working with us to set up the rules, develop layouts, and pre-approve content, such as text blocks, images, and databases. Then you (or anyone you choose to give access to) can log in, make selections about what is to be included in the marketing piece, and click “OK.”

If the user wants to customize the piece (change colors, headlines, or other elements), this can be done within pre-set limits that you determine. Personalization can often be applied by using drop-down menus that, with a little training, anyone in your staff can use.

Once the project is complete, the user checks out as they would at any other online store.

Making 1:1 marketing easier is that the person ordering the marketing materials doesn’t have to be the one designing it. A designer creates the piece, we upload it and set the parameters for personalization, and using templates and rules, the user can select and customize the piece and place the order. Often, all they have to do is fill out basic information and use the drop-down menus provided. Elements are flowed in, the rules applied, and the piece produced and shipped to the right location automatically.

This workflow requires a time investment to set up, but we’ll be there to help you.

What’s important to understand is that the barriers to entry are lowering for 1:1 print marketing. Software has come a long way, and it’s making personalization easier and more accessible than ever.


Personalization Is Easier Than You Think

Whether it’s in print, email, or online, customers expect a personalized marketing experience. According to InfoTrends, 60% of Boomers and beyond (ages 55+) want a personalized experience. Among Millennials (ages 13-34) and Gen-Xers (ages 35-54), this rises to 67%.

But while “personalization” can carry the connotation of complex and expensive, it doesn’t have to be. Even with a basic customer list, a few simple steps can help you deliver a more relevant, targeted experience.

1. Use their name creatively.

Don’t just use the customer’s name in the opening text. Use it creatively in images or sprinkle it in unexpected places throughout the document. Add the couple’s name to the place card on the table. Emblazon it across the mailbox in front of an image of a home for sale. Integrate it into the design in unexpected, eye-catching ways.

2. Target by a single, simple variable.

Will it help to target the mailing by gender? How about by ZIP code? Would it help to add a map? (This works great for new businesses or new branches or locations.) This is data you already have. Use it!

3. Append the database.

Still think you don’t have any variables you can use? Do what’s called a database “append” in which you purchase simple variables like home ownership or household income for the names you already have. Appends are not expensive and can boost your marketing effectiveness exponentially.

Talk to us about how you can put your existing data to use to create a more personal relationship with your customers. You probably already have more information than you think!