While much of the focus in marketing has revolved around digital methods — emails, texts, etc. — print has evolved to help companies better target their prospects and stand out.
Advancements in printing techniques utilize a variety of substrates and tactile enhancements, and marketers can now leverage the data they capture to customize their printing to hone their messaging to much more narrow target demographics.
“It’s about companies leveraging their full marketing power to gain more customers,” says Lauren Hanna, Vice President of Sales at Blue Technologies, Inc. “Print is evolving in such a way that it can not only complement digital marketing strategies, but can be used to stand out from them.”
Smart Business spoke with Hanna about the latest trends in print marketing and how companies can leverage them to reach their target audience.
How is print marketing better leveraging data?
A lot more data is at companies’ disposal today than even five years ago. Digital tools are allowing companies to gather or obtain much more information about their prospects, so the emphasis now is on leveraging that data to target prospects more effectively through the customization of marketing efforts. Tools are available that automatically categorize data to target much more narrow customer profiles, helping companies get their product or service in front of their ideal target audience.
Marketers have gotten better at aggregating their in-house data on each customer to drive targeted messages. That’s allowing companies to customize their value proposition to each customer, effectively drilling down in that data to identify who to sell what to and how best to sell to them. With advancements in print techniques, marketing collateral can pinpoint the messaging rather than using general messages. That also adds cost efficiencies: instead of sending the same piece of marketing collateral to 100,000 people, companies can send 10 different pieces to 10,000 people that are more targeted.
What material changes have been introduced?
Label customization is exploding. It’s seen as a significant opportunity because it’s enabling companies to better control their brands while targeting specific customers without significant increases in costs. Customized digital label printing can open the door to additional marketing strategies, such as printing a QR code on a product label for a percentage off the next purchase. It’s using collateral that companies already deploy to drive revenue.
People receive many solicitations through traditional mail. Most get thrown away without conveying their message to the consumer. While more customized mail has had some impact, those that are embellished — that is printed on unique material that’s of a higher quality — are less likely to be pitched, increasing the likelihood that the message is delivered.
Such embellishments can also apply to business cards, which can help set them apart. This can mean printing them on a heavier weighted stock, using foil embellishments or raised text.
So many enhancements that previously had been very expensive are now more accessible and have become more common. That’s increased the variety of enhancements that are available at a much more cost-effective price point.
How are these changes affecting efficiency?
There’s more emphasis on streamlining marketing workflow, using digital tools and their ability to capture data to improve processes and better serve customers. For instance, using automated forms to capture customer request and then automate progress updates back to the client can increase efficiency. Data from that process can also be used to gather metrics that help with purchasing to avoid an inventory surplus or increase orders for materials that are more frequently requested. By tracking data and implementing automated processes, communication to customers can be improved, as can internal processes, that drive both efficiency and effectiveness.
Though there have been many advances in digital marketing, companies should not ignore print marketing. There’s an opportunity to stand out with well-targeted print marketing that leverages the medium’s advancements to make an impact. ●
INSIGHTS Technology is brought to you by Blue Technologies, Inc.