Monday, September 29, 2014

Where does print now belong in your overall marketing or promotional mix?

The marketing communications world has changed and seems to be changing rapidly all the time now.

If you talk to marketing people working for the big brands one of their top requirements is the ability to measure how much response they are getting.  Or if they are more sophisticated, how many of these respondents actually convert their interest into a sale or number of sales over a set period of time.

The trend these days is for multi-channel marketing activity – maximising the impact of the message to different audiences.  The younger generation have a social media bias and the older generation often prefer the touch and feel of a personalised direct mail campaign. 

This synergy effect tries to influence consumers who are now spoilt for choice for most of the typical products and services they wish to purchase on a regular basis.

So which is the best for your marketing or promotional mix, online or print?

When it comes to price there should be no contest.  Online wins hands down.  

Transmission costs are minimal compared to traditional advertising or postal methods.  

Online is also easily traceable and you get probably more of an insight of the time the recipient takes to look or act upon your communication. 

The message can easily be personalised and can be changed easily and instantly.  Again, anyone who has undertaken a mail-merge can testify to the potential difficulties that arise in a print run.

Online digital marketing can reach a broader audience within a few seconds.  And you can easily test the market and the effectiveness of the message.  

However, there are still plenty of negatives.  It is still a scattergun approach and any can often be seen as an unwelcome bit of soliciting by many.  

The majority of the recipients are not impressed and would never respond or even open an online message.  I have even sent e-broadcasts to friends and colleagues who have opted- out within a few seconds of opening the email.

Increasingly more and more marketers are seeing that the one size fits all approach of online is not working as well as they thought.  

Those that opt for print are tending to get better results by using the power and technology that this industry can now offer.  

With digital printing you no longer need to have huge print runs, you can print only what you need.

There are now even more eye-catching substrates available – appealing to the sense of feel and touch and even pleasant smells in some industries.

Variable data means sophisticated personalisation of both text and images – so that each brand can reach out personally to every individual if necessary.

Essentially, the effectiveness of print has increased because there is less of it.  Printing 100 highly targeted printed messages rather than 1000 leaflets can give far more effective results because the budget allows for more intricate design and finishing processes. 

Junk mail is becoming increasingly rare in our letterboxes because everyone tries to evaluate marketing spend.  And just leaflet dropping cannot easily be measured.  Sure, you may only need one direct sale to pay for the whole campaign – but it is becoming more and more of a gamble.

Direct mail print properly undertaken has a history of effectiveness.  There are numerous studies that point to the fact that people still value print.

They believe it is a more secure, trustworthy, credible and eye catching method of communication.  

They also tend to look at it in more depth and comprehend the message better because it is designed for interaction.  

Research regularly demonstrates that something that is read in print is retained and remembered better than when seen online – so if a brand wants the message to be remembered then print is the way to go.

It is also an anomaly that two of the largest producers of print are Microsoft and Google.  In fact, Google uses direct mail as a major source of leads for the Pay per click Adwords marketing campaign.

So your online campaigns may not be noticed or even considered a nuisance to some of your customers.  Whereas a beautiful piece of print that is sent, especially with a quality envelope, is usually something you will want to open and possibly respond to.

There is no doubt that print will continue to have a particular place within the overall marketing mix for companies of every size and in every market.  The approach recommended is to have a balance rather than a reliance of just one communications channel.

The world of marketing communications has come around to the view that the  balanced promotional mix, albeit with increasing emphasis on electronic communications is the best way to go.

To survive and prosper print must always remain transparent and measurable.  

This will involve working hand-in-hand with all the other methods of communication.  

Print should remain a key part of your promotional mix and by using the full capabilities available could help your business to grow and prosper in the years ahead.

If you need any help with any aspect of direct mail contact us free on 0800 0345 845 or our normal landline on 01384 376640.
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