Tag Archives: Print Marketing

The future of print marketing in a digital world

The future of print marketing

The challenge of 2020 is being etched into history and is a reminder of economic, social and emotional discontent.

The future of print marketing

Every industry is affected, and global economies are coming to terms with a changing business landscape.

A bleak outlook?

Marketing has also suffered due to the financial implications of businesses cutting back on spending.

What does this mean for print?

Print is more relevant than ever as we turn away from fake news and seek the facts.

Even when many thought the digital age would see the death toll, print has become more creative, essential, and unique.

What is the future of print marketing in a digital world?

Digital marketing is here to stay, but print marketing is by no means on the back foot.

On the contrary, businesses will increase their marketing budgets as business confidence improves and the vaccination program continues unabated.

Marketing is a crucial component of business strategy in developing long term customer relationships.

One effective way to increase brand awareness is to connect with your audience by positioning your business in a niche.

The future of print marketing

SMEs and smaller businesses find this a real challenge involving time, money and trying to come up with plenty of content ideas.

Social media platforms make it easy to push out a steady stream of content for analysis and measurement.

This makes it an invaluable tool for marketers.

What about print marketing?

According to BPIF, the UK is the fifth-largest producer of printed products employing over 140,000 people in 10,500 companies with a turnover of £14.3 billion.

There is longevity in printed products, after all.

While digital remains an essential tool for brand recognition and retains its place as a quick and easy way to communicate with customers, print is tangible emotional and personalised.

Print addresses the individual by name rather than a blanket email that starts with hey, Mrs C. or Hi Smith.

We’ve all received that misspelt or generic type of newsletter, haven’t we?

But while personalisation is vital in marketing, print uses sensory stimulants that embrace our senses and gain the recipient’s attention on an emotional level.

It can include video through AR, different print finishes and fragrances capturing the interest of the individual.

Good marketing needs to make a connection without blatantly ‘selling’.

Digital print is characterised by personalisation and provides plenty of scope to use tactile substrates.

This makes the end product feel like its a premium product and can be uniquely personalised.

In the age of clickbait, click-through rates, impressions, views and likes, print plays a vital role in marketing.

The future of print marketing

While postage and raw materials have increased, printing is cheaper than when I entered the industry in 1991.

On-demand printing is a reality, and although it has to compete with its online counterpart, it should not be seen as an adversary but as an effective communication and marketing partner.

The hardest thing for print management companies is to reposition themselves not ‘just as the printer who prints the company’s finance documents or brochures’ but as facilitators of new and creative ideas.

As a print management company, our objective is to deliver new and innovative ways of connecting with customers through an integrated marketing campaign that includes print.

The economy is preparing to recover, and while we wait for it to open on June 21, businesses are planning to increase their marketing spend.

There’s no obvious route to success, but new trends and innovations marketing departments should include print as part of their marketing mix.

While digital consumption is high among younger audiences, does this translate into higher levels of attention?

Distractions caused by online pop-ups ads and notifications divert our attention, which means brands have a short time to deliver their campaigns online.

The pandemic is forcing us to slow down, and many of us working at home, reading print calms us.

Print is accessible and is less invasive than being bombarded with negative fake news.

By offering unique print products, marketers can capitalise on the benefits of connecting more tangibly with their customers through print media.

To find how print can change the way you connect with your customers, contact us at 01234-271156

How to drive your customer relationships using mail and email

Last year I wrote about the impact of digital on mail and email.multi channel services

Whilst there maybe a genuine perception that print is on the decline the Royal Mail report found otherwise.

Print and email working in collaboration and using cross media marketing, (also referred to as multi channel marketing) works very effectively.

I am often asked for advice on how to go about adopting a multi channel marketing strategy.

Why I will not profess to being a marketing expert my knowledge of print combined with personalisation and social media gives me the objectivity to look at a marketing campaign and help define it for the customer.

I thought I would share with you a recent marketing/print campaign Digital Print Management fulfilled for one of its customers.

stay on targetThe starting point has to be what do you hope to get out of it?

By this, I mean not ‘more business’ or more customers, we all want that but what objectives do you want to get out of your campaign?

Being able to interact with your customers and prospects through multi channel marketing is necessary for companies to get their message out

Here’s an example of a cross media campaign using mail and email ?iStock_000026350319Small

Generating interest with print by using an interesting and engaging format so that when it lands on the doormat the consumer is highly likely to read and do something with it or take action.

A car dealership has a target list of 3,750 customers whom they would like to get in contact with and who haven’t visited their dealership in the last 18 months.

The key objective of marketing to these people is to motivate customers to come back to the dealership by scheduling a routine service and by offering a free oil change and a 15% discount off the standard service.

  • The dealership sends out personalised postcards with PURLs – the postcards and emails are uniquely personalised and individualised according to each customer’s past purchasing history
  • The customers receive the postcards and some do respond to the PURL – the invitation to visit the PURL is a way of inviting the customer to redeem coupons that they can then use at the dealership against a service/oil change
  • The inclusion of a PURL ensures that all the responses and updates are captured and the customer data list is updated
  • The response actions that are captured from the PURL trigger a personalised email which is sent to those respondents who didn’t respond inviting them to click onto the same PURL
  • A follow up email is then scheduled to go out to those who didn’t take up the offer in 5 days

Stacked MailThis is the customer decision stage by sending the prospects a mail piece that communicates a clear and persuasive benefit with a link to your website is more likely to encourage engagement.

When customers respond using the PURL they arrive at a personalised landing page which has their name and address details.

They are asked to confirm or update their details and then request to enter a code which is printed on the email or postcard so they can redeem their coupons.

Once the purchase is made, in this instance the redeeming of coupons an email is generated welcoming them back to the dealership; a welcome pack which is highly personalised is then sent out to them.

Whilst they are redeeming their coupons there are a whole host of other coupons that they can also redeem in exchange for more information about the condition of the car, how old it is, when was the last time they had it serviced, what time of day do they prefer to schedule a service, do they own more than one car from the same manufacturer.

Each coupon they click on encourages the customer to give more information which can later be used for future campaigns.

Where do I start?

Identify your marketing objective? In the above example it was to get in contact with former customers of the car dealership.

Do you have accurate data? In this example the dealership had a defined customer contact base of 3,750 former customers.

What technology or platform are you using? Can you manage this in-house if so how will it be managed and do you have the technology/software and resources to ensure it’s monitored through to completion.


Outsource it to a cross media specialist  who can work with you and design the campaign to meet your objectives.

Empty asphalt road towards cloud and signs symbolizing success a

To ensure successful results there must be a planning process – who is your target audience, which media channels are right, what offer(s) and how then are the responses going to be captured and used.

Keeping the offer relevant and personalised to the customer should yield positive results.

Before managing a large campaign plan a test run with different offers, this will hi-light what works and what doesn’t, the campaign can then be upgraded to include your target audience, whatever the size.

A follow up plan is crucial to keep the momentum going and in this instance the follow up process which included an email could also include a postcard was used where people hadn’t responded in 5 days.

All actions and responses were measured when the customer clicked through to the PURLs.

The highly targeted and personalised win back stage is useful where customers have parted with information but have chosen not to redeem vouchers, sending a follow up mail piece is a useful way of staying in touch with those prospects that didn’t redeem their coupons.

How to avoid the pitfalls

  1. Be selective when it comes to the channels you intend to communicate your offer, too much and it becomes another sales blast.
  2. Whilst I’m a big advocate of personalisation, too much of ‘Hi Caroline, Caroline it’s been 18 months since, Caroline we think you might like this’ and so on then becomes a pain and is immediately off putting.
  3. Make the offer relevant and meaningful
  4. No campaign will be 100% successful first time out. Be prepared to modify, adapt and test the offer
  5. Keep any content either in print or digital relevant to the offer and to your audience

Some things to think about?

Sending paper bills or statements encourages retention and faster payment by using the white space on a paper bill or electronic statement to promote any services and offers you are promoting.

Renewal – as renewal time approaches send your customers a personalised mail piece that reminds them of the benefits they will receive as well as the future benefits they will be able to access after they have renewed with your.

Following up with an email is a great way to get them to make a decision but also makes them feel valued.

You can also find more information here 


How does print management fit into our digital world?

I’m a big advocate of print as part of your marketing strategy, I CMYK printing conceptbelieve it’s a great way to engage with your customers in the first instance and a great place to start their buying journey.

When it comes to marketing material, print arouses the senses notably sight and touch unlike its digital counterpart, print gives customers something physical to hold, to browse through and is easier to refer back to when needed.

The print industry embraced the digital world back in the early 90’s.

Think digital printing – short run in any number of variations and types, highly personalised and customised.

print word in letterpress typePrint was the leader in optimising personalisation and customisation in the online world.

Where do you think the big brands got their ideas to drive customer engagement with personalized messages and customised landing pages?

Print of course!

Does print management still fit into our social media and digital world?

I believe it does.

In the past, companies had no idea what their print spend was, senior executives had no idea about the number of print devices in use, the cost of paper and supplies, let alone the cost of the overall print bill, excluding corporate stationery and items.

Times have changed and although social media marketing has in some respects taken the lead, print is now one very important part of the content marketing process.

Print marketing has benefited from changes in our industry making it more cost effective for organisations to send out highly personalised marketing information and then following this up with social media campaigns so the customer can follow the brand, company or purchase.

Some may think that print management is finished and that print based marketing is no longer needed in an ever changing social and digital world.

But they are wrong. Think business cards, leaflets, brochures, packaging, posters and invitations.

With the rise of cross media marketing which includes but is not limited to variable data print, personalised URLs (PURL), podcasts/webinars, email and social media, physical print marketing plays an active role.

For example variable data print which includes direct mail, posters, brochures and giveaways – anything that can be printed with the customer’s name, company or a content specific message.

In my last post I talked about how to add value to your print through the use of AR and QR codes.

Similarly adding a PURL enables you to capture a prospect at the point of interest.

When?Optimising a personalised web address means that you now have a way of measuring their interest and the technology to evaluate where they are in the buying journey using analytics which can report the landing pages they have arrived at.

Cross media communications are designed to move the prospect across the different media using “calls to action” with each touch point teasing the buyer to take further action and move onto the next platform.

Where does print management fit in?

Simple. Print management companies are experts in the total management of a company’s print marketing requirements – marketing print, financial print and more.

Print management means accessibility to the latest innovations not just in print but in design, new technologies like AR that can all add value to your marketing initiatives.

Being able to work with an outsourcing partner that can manage and integrate the various channels of communication makes it a very effective way of maximising business efficiencies and savings.

Empty asphalt road towards cloud and signs symbolizing success aThe marketing officer gains expertise, consultation, access to a variety of multi-channel distribution networks, brand consistency and major cost benefits




The future of print marketing in a digital worldur digi

How to use print with Augmented Reality and QR Codes.

I was held to task by a marketing man who claims ‘print is not as effective as digital’.

I considered my response carefully and said that this is a generalisation to criticise print and keep marketing and advertising budgets down.

But, I went onto suggest that while the statement does hold water, it’s not entirely accurate.iStock_000023887471Small

Digital lends itself to short, trivial messages which can be effective and cheaper than print because distribution and receipt of the message are instant.

For more complex information or understanding of a product or service reading it in print is easier.

It provides high resolution, better typography, colour, composition, special effects and beautiful fulfilment which cannot be delivered by digital media.

The effectiveness of print depends on the message you want to convey to your audience, what response do you want to create and your objective.

My marketing man went on to say ‘even if you design and deliver a fantastic piece of physical marketing when it comes down to it, it really is a bit of print on paper isn’t it?’

I showed him how to incorporate QR codes and Augmented reality into his physical print media and guess what he was blown away.

‘I didn’t realise that print could do all that’. Scanning QR code with mobile phone

How do I use a QR code?

QR codes create a link between print and the digital world that makes your marketing work twice as hard and it is easier to measure.

QR codes make it simple for your customers to purchase by shortening the purchasing journey.

Information is collected about their buying behaviour for future offers and discounts.

QR codes are printed on all types of printed media – advertisements, direct mail, letterheads, business cards, magazines, brochures, sales and marketing material.

Each code contains information that sends the customer straight to a specific PURL/landing page that’s been designed with a marketing objective in mind.

This might be a digital newsletter, a video or social media sites like a Facebook page or product information.

A smartphone that has a QR app enables the customer to scan the code and the link sends them to a landing page.

It could be an invitation to buy, a discount code or sign up for a newsletter or subscription.

When the QR code is scanned, personal information can be saved for example where the customer is located, at what time of day did they buy and this gives you information to help understand the customer and how they buy.

QR codes improve your customer interaction by creating a dialogue with customers and statistics can be measured for future marketing objectives.

The codes can also be personalised using information supplied via a CRM and then printed directly onto any printed marketing material.

They are used to connect print with digital communication but they can contain any kind of information you want which makes them limitless in how you use them.

A QR code can be added to any type of printed collateral.

It’s a great way of rewarding loyal customers by connecting with them on social media via a designated landing page where they can collect points or obtain discounts.

How do I use Augmented Reality with print marketing?

Augmented reality adds a new dimension to the world of physical print because print media is interactive.

Why send readers to a website to watch a video when they can watch it on a page?

Marketing is engaging with your audience, make the content interesting, interactive and informative and they’ll stay for more.

AR is a great way to engage your audience with advertisements, your target audience is moved to want to make a purchase. iStock_000025176791Small

View print through an augmented reality app’s viewfinder and a world of interactive digital content is available.

The advertisement or message comes alive with computer-generated video, sound or games accessed through a smartphone or tablet.

AR uses are almost limitless. It can show how a product works and gives readers access to other content.

It is a way of making print and text interactive and makes it a fun experience and invites them to purchase.

AR increases audience engagement because it can reach target audiences in new ways via mobile devices.

What makes AR even more appealing is its ability to deliver targeted advertising messages to the people who read something they are interested in.

By scanning a code or pointing their device at an image on a sign, a printed page in a magazine or brochure on a billboard, content becomes dynamic and engaging, easing the consumer along the purchasing journey.

How do I make my content marketing fit with print and social media

Although I do not profess to be either a marketing or social media content marketing strategyexpert I’m often asked by our customers, how do we tailor our content marketing or proposition so it is suitable for print and online?

Whilst I know a thing or two about the importance of personalisation and the part it plays in the customer experience; ensuring your content marketing fits into the physical and digital world are two very different disciplines. iStock_000001004704Small

Personalisation isn’t about adding a customer name at the top of an email message.

Marketing automation coupled with CRM has enabled companies to collect large amounts of data about their customers, which means marketing can deliver customised preferences that match the customer’s requirements.

That’s all well and good if you can afford the marketing software tools and a comprehensive CRM system but if you are an SME it’s not quite so easy.

Whilst the large familiar brands want to convey the idea they are smaller and more personable so they can win more customers; the SME is wanting to achieve the opposite effect.

There is a link between businesses that are successful with branding multichannel marketingthat represents the success of the company, I call it familiarity. But this takes time to build a following and an identity.

Simply adding your logo on to all your printed stationery and social media channels does not make your business stand out anymore than the next.

Pushing the same post or content marketing message out to all your social media channels is not the same as customising the message to suit each of the social media channels.

Customers will use different channels to view your marketing from the physical direct mail piece to being able to view content on social channels, on different devices or a combination of all and will want to see and read different, but, familiar messages. Marketing and strategyEach social media channel has different characteristics and whilst consistently posting good content is important it doesn’t mean it should be identical on all channels.

So how do you go about building the buzz about your business?

Here are some key points to consider.

  1. What does your company stand for? Where do you fit in? Can you define who your audience is and where to find them? Ask yourself and your customers why do they choose you, what makes you stand out? What is the identity of your company?
  2. What products and services do you offer and why does your current customer base choose you for these products and services?

By being able to answer the above questions will help you choose where and what social platforms you should be on to be seen and heard.

3. What drives your business? What are the company values? Are your employees also buying into the company ethos and its mission?

If the people that work in the business perceive that the company lives and breathes by what it stands for then they in turn are loyal, trust the company they work for and are genuinely more heart-felt in the way they deliver to the customers.

This becomes evident when customers talk to your employees.

The best compliment an employee can say is “this is a great place to work” in turn this makes the customer feel comfortable knowing they are working with the right supplier.

4. Understand the customers experience – look at the company through your customers eyes and ask, what are their expectations, how do you think you deliver overall?

If an issue occurs all the customer remembers is the problem they had with your company, late delivery, the support person who was unhelpful. How well you resolve the customer issue shows your true company values and sets you apart from the rest.

5. Your content should be consistent with the same tone throughout, that way your customers identify and recognise that it’s your company –  from the marketing piece delivered to their door through to the social media channels. Keep your messages different and entertaining.

6. Make an impression and be distinctive – carve out your own identity it might be fun and light hearted or serious and measured but above all keep the tone and message consistent with the company profile.

That way customers don’t get confused and think it’s another company.

7. Change content marketing across channels –  it’s easier to post the same message to every social media channel but even harder to know which one works best.

Understanding how each of the platforms work and what they can do is a step forward in establishing if you are likely to find your customer there. For example we use twitter to promote posts, ideas, quotes and industry news.

8. Choose the right channels for customer contact – twitter might be great for sharing news and reviews about your products and services and other content but, YouTube might be ideal for you to demonstrate a product. Pinterest is a great place to organise boards that showcase your imagery – photos, blogs, interests.

9. Think about how you communicate your brand – You might have a product or service that is not mainstream in other words not something you’d talk about over breakfast but by getting creative and promoting a story about how your product/service helped an organisation save time/money etc is a fun way of showcasing how your product works. print word in letterpress type10. Make your printed marketing piece the first customer touch point. Customise and personalise it according to the customer and relate it to the product/service you are promoting. Use context (reasonably) imagery, and give them a reason to follow you on social media sites by making your print more interactive using QR codes and AR. (Augmented Reality)

Customising content across social channels for better response takes time and doesn’t happen overnight.

Consistency is important for an integrated marketing campaign right through from print to social.

Being able to deliver useful marketing messages consistently that delivers on its values and promises, guarantees to win customers, but there is a warning, it doesn’t happen overnight.

What do you do to get noticed?

How do you market your products and services and how well does it work for you?

Share with us what has worked and what hasn’t.

Next time: In my next post how to use print more effectively?

The impact of digital on mail and email

Those of you who have been kind enough to show up regularly know iStock_000026350319Smallthat I have each foot in the digital and print camp.

Digital media has had a huge impact on our lives making content accessible anytime, anywhere day or night.

And yet print is still holding it’s own.

Marketing departments are realising that print and digital work in harmony to ensure audiences are targeted with their brand messages.

Consumers like to receive email and mail each have different qualities and as audiences move between online and offline, mail and email help drive the consumer toward purchasing.

In 2007 the Royal Mail commissioned some research which showed that having 1 to 1 conversations with your customer required both mail and email and should be used in conjunction with each other.

Smartphones and tablets have made us truly mobile so obtaining information on the go is easier, it also means that marketers can deliver their brand message into our inbox when we are mobile.

In a recent report conducted by the Royal Mail, a survey showed that whilst email is on the decline it still works effectively with print marketing.

I’ve taken the most relevant information from the report and created an infographic and included it in this post. It makes interesting reading.

You might think that after reading this post and viewing the infograhic below that we are more digital than mail.

But, mail is redefining and aligning itself alongside emails and the physical channels such as direct mail, leaflet drops and physical advertising are holding their own.

In my follow up post I’ll go over why print and email work well when you employ an effective multi-channel marketing strategy.

See what you think.




Print marketing. 10 ways to get your marketing messages read.

White space, blank, unused and discarded space. Businesswoman using digital tablet with copyspace

White space is one of the things I see most in the various customer applications Digital Print Management process, print and electronically send out from payslips, invoices through to marketing and direct mail.

You name it there is often a great big white space on the document which isn’t being used either for company messages, promotions, new products or services.

Why spend time designing and investing time in a marketing campaign if you don’t capitalise on the space you have available which is where print marketing comes in.

I’m not suggesting you fill your page with information that bears no resemblance to the product or service you are selling but used wisely that white space can be a great print marketing opportunity to say something.

Every transactional document including bills, statements and customer communications are central to the customer experience and every document represents an opportunity to communicate to your customer.

Marketers are missing a great opportunity by not maximising the space they have available through print marketing.

print management and cross media marketing

Why limit it to ‘marketing’ only? Any customer communication requires the same carefully thought out message.

Targeting of the message can be achieved in the same print run and the use of multi-channel print, mobile and online content can all be linked to provide a unique customer experience.

print word in letterpress typeHere are 10 ways to make print more effective.

  1. Make sure your printed message endures – if your marketing looks cheap then the chances are it will be discarded. Cheaply produced items are more likely to be viewed as ‘throwaway’ and have little value.
  2. For your printed message to get maximum exposure choose quality material and if the the marketing message is well designed it’s likely that the item will be kept as reference at a later date.
  3. Designing an overtly funky or trendy marketing item will get plenty of attention on initial opening but unless it has something positive to say or serves a specific purpose is unlikely to serve any practical use.
  4. In a multi-channel market place print still retains a highly respected and effective way of promoting your brand and getting your message out there to your audience so make sure what you have to say is relevant and timely.
  5. The digital overload that at times threatens to lose your audience’s attention and the ROI guaranteed from a direct mail marketing campaign makes print an ideal alternative.content marketing and big data
  6. Print helps you stay on top of a person’s mind and a well written print piece can reach people who have specific interests or needs especially if it is a well placed advertisement in a magazine next to a business article or print ads, brochures, postcards and printed promotional products that ensure your business is kept visible.
  7. Print is a great way to build your brand using business cards, envelopes, direct mail, presentation kits promotional items like pens and mugs. These items are useful, serve a practical purpose and last a long time.
  8. Post cards are a great way of saying thank you to your customers for the recent new business they placed with you or for a marketing message designed to encourage your customers to take up a promotion you might be running.
  9. Print supports a multi-channel strategy and customers are more likely to be responsive if they are reached both offline and online.
  10. Envelopes – use them don’t leave white space, fill it with colour, brand and personalise them with your company details and logos and don’t forget a QR code to drive traffic to your website. It costs next to nothing to have envelopes with colour printed on them. There are some limitations laid down by the royal mail but as long as your mailing house conforms with the requirements there is a lot of white space you can use to promote your message. Envelopes are always the last thing you think about but the first thing you open to see what’s inside. If an envelope goes out without any branding it is a misused white space opportunity.

Optimising white space can turn even the mundane of documents into a more powerful and effective means of communicating with the customer.