The Value of Print in an Integrated Marketing Strategy
With more and more money being thrown at digital marketing every year, now is a great time to look at ways to maximize the impact of your print campaigns and restore balance to your marketing efforts. Why? Events like Valentine's Day in February, Mother's Day in May, along with Easter in April mean that the first two quarters of 2015 are practically crying out for personalized communication!
Thanks to CRM software, marketers have swathes of customer data at their fingertips. Using variable printing, a technique popularized among consumers by Hallmark, including a customer's name or recommended products based on recent purchases they've made is a great way to stand out from all the junk mail and leaflets that people receive every day.
Direct marketing fell out of fashion for a few years, but it's been enjoying a second wind lately. Marketers are increasingly looking to develop integrated campaigns spanning both digital and print, and direct marketing fits that bill quite nicely.
There's no getting around the fact that in a world where you can't leave your laptop for five minutes without coming back to a spam email, people appreciate it when businesses take the time to produce something relevant to them that they can hold in their hand. Studies show that personalized documents improve response rates.
How personal you get is really up to you — e.g., a printed address on the front of a mailshot all the way through to a personally branded brochure or cover letter — but many businesses err on the side of caution. There's always the worry that consumers can find it a little off-putting when brands appear to know too much about them!
We're now at the stage where there's significant overlap between digital and print marketing. QR codes and NFC tags can be used to allow consumers to go straight from your brochure to your website, while CRM data gathered online will usually provide the basis for a personalized print campaign. Unique landing pages for different groups of customers or even personalized URLs (PURLs) for every customer can be fed into Google Analytics to get insight into how successful a campaign has been.
With 42 percent of direct mail recipients preferring to respond online, according to a study by the Direct Marketing Association, outstanding direct mail campaigns now walk a line between digital and print marketing. However, to say that direct mail is just another tool to bring traffic to your website is an understatement. Done well, a personalized direct mail campaign can make customers feel like a company understands them and is putting effort into suggesting products they'll actually like rather than just shouting "SELL, SELL, SELL!"
What they might not realize is that CRM tools and the rapid development of litho-quality digital printing have made it easier than ever to run an effective personalized campaign. But that will just be our secret!
Jonny Rowntree is a freelance writer working with Elanders UK, a company that offers its customers global solutions for print and packaging, supply chain management, and e-commerce.