Tag Archives: Social Media

The transformation of print in a multi-channel world

That was the theme of a conference I attended in London last week.

Is print finished? The transformation of print in a multi channel world

It is transforming and is a crucial element of the digital media world we live in.

Print is the first touchpoint for the recipient to touch, feel, read and even smell before they enter the digital world.

Surprisingly of the eleven speakers, not one tried to bury print.

I was expecting at least one speaker to talk about the demise of print but whilst everyone in the audience and speakers agreed that print has declined in the newspaper sector, the opposite is happening in magazines, direct mail and general print.

In 2015 £13.9 billion was spent on print, in 2010 it was 14 billion so print is holding its own during one of the most turbulent economic climates we’ve experienced in the last thirty years.

the transformation of print in a multi channel worldPrint is adapting and so are the manufacturers of print who recognise the need to provide a digital and physical version for people to consume content.

Content producers are all too aware that it is the content that matters and not the medium.

Producing content means we really need to think about the audience. Are they mobile users and internet-based or do they prefer the written word?

Measuring consumer engagement for example how long they spend reading content is far more relevant than where they actually consume it, in print, in digital format on the web or via mobile device.

Print is not necessarily better than digital it is simply another way of consuming information and is demographic dependent.

Deloitte discovered that while we may The transformation of print in a multi channel worldperceive that books are on the decline the reverse is true. 8% were in favour of physical books rather than e-books.

A tablet offers an immediate immersive reader experience, print is a slow burner.

One of the main characteristics that were highlighted at the conference were the statistics demonstrating people’s desire to slow down and enjoy content rather than feeling compelled to consume it instantly.

Reading content on a phone or tablet is quick and responsive it also comes with a heap of distractions leaving you anxious and stressed.

Reading physical print you ‘make time’, tablets and smartphones it is about ‘fill time’.

Advertising messages tend to be forgotten because the mobile experience is faster but is stressful as we are under fire from popups and ads.

Whether content is read on a tablet or in print the emotional reactions to the content tend to be similar but it is the actual content that determines how and where we consume it.

The transformation of print in a multi channel worldPlatform VS content drives how it is read.

Make content snackable or bite-sized in a digital format is easier to digest.  Physical print is easier to read for longer periods and there are no distractions.

Digital technologies allow a brand to use more personal touchpoints to engage with the audience and in a self-centred world, it is about building relationships through personalisation.

Take Coke’s branded bottle campaign of 2014. What a great example of the benefits of personalisation.

Personalising individual bottles with Christian names led to a 7% increase in consumption, a 2.1% increase in sales and 18.3 million impressions.

Coke’s marketing goal was to engage with a younger audience and they achieved this by making it personal and individual.

The physical printing of names on the bottle created greater engagement, interaction and differentiation.

Digital brands notably Google, Net-A-Porter, Apple, Facebook, Linkedin and Airbnb are some of the large brands combining print with their digital marketing.

The tech companies insist that the best way for brands to reach consumers is via digital communications, they too have seen the benefits of print advertising to connect with audiences.

Google, in 2013 spent £5m on outdoor advertising and £3.5m on press ads, likewise LinkedIn created a direct mail pack in 2014 to announce it had reached 15 million UK subscribers and to promote the launch of its student hub after it emerged that students were one of its fastest-growing cohorts.The transformation of print in a digital world

Print is meaningful, emotional and enhances the reading experience.

In 2014, we spent £1.3 bn on magazine media with 73% of the adult population subscribe to a monthly magazine, in either digital or paper format.

Leading magazine brands are writing their exclusives in print and delivering snippets of information via social media. Vogue magazine has an estimated viewing time online of 9.02 minutes with an average of fifty minutes per issue readership.

Microsoft concluded from research that the changing nature of attention has now decreased from 10 to 8 seconds on a mobile device. This means if the advert is irrelevant or doesn’t hit the spot then the reader leaves.

The argument should not be focused solely on if digital or paper is better. It should be how to effectively monopolise both formats used together coupled with the right platform to deliver the marketing message.

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




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?

Why businesses need social media to keep in touch with their customers

I am still learning the intricacies of social media along with its Social media conceptambiguities whilst not forgetting that it is about being SOCIAL and not just a means of delivering a continuum of sales messages.

But where does it fit in to business and why should we be spending time doing it?

What prompted the thinking behind this post?

Last Friday at a recent print industry event I caught up with some old friends and colleagues and the one question that kept popping up and being asked of me was:

 Why do I/we need social media for our business?

Why do I/we need to be on social media?

I’m in the print business not social media?

Mobile devicesI pointed out that the print business is not all about pre-printed forms, catalogues, direct mail but is one part of the multi channel experience that customers come in contact with and I’ve talked about it in detail here and here.

But, I then backed up the above comment saying that social media is only important to you and your business if you understand the reasons why you are using it in the first place.

If you get lots of business via telesales, advertisements, referrals, yell.com and the ‘lead bank’ is full to bursting point then social media may not be what you need to do.


What you need to ask is what can social media do for my business and me?

Do I need to have an online presence?

I should point out that this is not a ‘how to do’ post as I am not a seasoned expert but rather some ideas to consider when it comes to why do social media.

A company needs to be able to project a unified brand in other words show the customer more than just products services and words. But how do they do this?

It isn’t about straplines on stationery or marketing collateral or the consistency of logos across your marketing it is the way your company or brand conveys its meaningfulness across all touch points.

Every advertisement, email marketing, direct mail even chatting with a customer service representative through to the delivery of your product or service provides a great opportunity for your brand or company to deliver on its promise and demonstrate its purpose, all of which strengthen the bond between customer and your company or brand.

To answer the question that was put to me:

You need to understand where your audience is?

What social media platforms you are likely to find them on?

And how can you convey your messages so they can be found and, more importantly get noticed?

Why do you want to invest your precious time in social media and more importantly what do you hope to get out of your time being ‘social.

I put it to my colleagues that they should be asking the question how can social media add value to the business or brand?

How can being on social media provide any other benefits to your existing customers or target audience?

Social media is more than just aiming to set your company apart from its competitors.

You are telling a story that conveys the values and the company’s ethos, it’s attitude toward its customers and how it projects itself online, all of which define the organisation.

Your social media and online presence is more than just that it is an experience that you hope your customers will identify with and that requires commitment by the organisation as a whole.

If this is followed up by poor execution and delivery of the service then the brand or customer experience is negative, credibility is lost and bad experiences are spread by word of mouth.

Our customers are deluged with information from social media – news, product recommendations, opinions and no matter what line of business you are in if you want to build a buzz about your business, it’s products or services then the cheapest and quickest way of doing this is by building an online social media presence.

Every business needs some kind of marketing and promotion and every business needs new customers and social media is an additional channel to expose your business.

Every business needs repeat business and by providing your customers with the knowledge so they know what you offer reminds them where to go when they need that new widget or solution.

iStock_000034282008SmallAny business needs to market themselves to generate leads and create new business growth but when I was asked should I be doing social media my response was ‘it’s not a case of if you need or should do it, but rather how well you do it.’

To answer the question at the start of this post:

Yes, social media can add another valuable channel to your marketing strategy if it’s done the right way.

And how does that help being in the print industry?

Print can position itself at the start of a customer’s journey from the physical to the online world and so social media forms part of that brand experience.

Marketers know that print can do things that digital cannot.

Print is at the heart of brand marketing.














How to engage your customers across multi-media channels

Customers are demanding faster and better information which has traditionally been delivered by direct sales and marketing planning.

Being able to interact with customers through multi-media channels is necessary for brands, companies and organisations to get their message out there by developing strong personal relationships with long term customers.multi-channel engagement

Creating a successful multi-media channel experience can seem beyond the capabilities of most organisations not only in time and internal resources but also cost and ROI.

Creating your own brand or imagery and being able to interact on a variety of multi-media channels is key to long term success.

A brand is not just the name of a business, a product or service it’s about establishing an emotional connection with the customer.

Your company or persona is more than just a company name on the top of your letter-heading it is about the identity of the people in your organisation and it’s personality.

The old adage that people buy people rings true. People buy your services based on emotion and the honesty they perceive in your brand or company.

By creating an identity and personality for your company the customers buying decision is easier because they are able to identify with the company, product, or service through association.

Increasing recognition by building an online presence are integral to making your brand and organisation credible.

content personalisation

How do I build my brand identity using multi-media channels?

Brand awareness is built through print media advertising, social media and multi-media channel touch points.

Whether you use the more traditional methods of marketing like direct mail, emailing, product launch events, blogs and video campaigns.content personalisation

Whatever strategies your business employs says a lot about you and the personality of the organisation or brand.

The key is making sure you stay in front of your audience so that when they are ready to buy they call or contact you.

Multi-media channel interaction is pretty much expected through all types of customer interactions including communication.

Customers want to be able to view documents on different media, from email, mobile, online and print depending on context and convenience.

This makes it impossible to predict which media channel will be used when, where and by whom, content has to be available on all platforms.

Organisations need to be transparent, honest and flexible so that the customer sees similar information on all media platforms this in turn creates consistency and continuity and creates familiarity which the prospective customer can identify with when they are ready to buy.

In the world of online, choice is easier for customers and an organisation that gives customers easy access to a variety of channels can differentiate itself. e-payslips

Knowing your audience and interpreting the data from the various multi-media channel touch points provides more opportunity to gather information about customers.

Complicated registration web forms which look more like A-level science questions than the simple sign up forms enable your customers to sign up and register easily without the customer being made to feel they are giving too much away and makes the process easier to collate information.

Using a sign up form that is connected to anyone of their social media accounts identifies the registrant with a social profile. They are more likely to enter their personal information onto an online registration form than offering it to a call centre.

By having that information available across all the platforms the organisation has more opportunities to capture the information making it more effective and usable when identifying niche audiences.

If an organisation can track how a customer is consuming information on what device and where, will make targeted marketing messages easier.

As long as all channels are communicating than a customer should only have to enter their data once.

Every social media channel has its own unique set of challenges but there are some best practices that should be observed:

  1. Be consistent, by this I mean any information, documentation and communication across all the multi-media channels should have the same imagery, look and feel so the customer is familiar with your brand or company.

  2. Creating a single document that has the same imagery, logos, branding like an online marketing piece, advert etc. make sure there is an individual strategy to deploy it across all channels. The message doesn’t have to be identical but it does need to relate to the other marketing messages on other channels.
  3. Provide a value-add on by making sure that at each touch point the customer can engage. Make an offer, provide useful information, offer a benefit.

  4. Security – consumers are well aware of issues of data security and misused information. They are also aware that to receive something they need to sign up or fill in a web form for accessibility. The customer wants to know how the information is collected and how it will be used so tell them. In return, the customer expects to receive value. They’ve parted with their personal details and expect something useful in return, in other words there has to be a benefit.
  5. Engagement on multi-media channel platforms requires commitment, time, money and resources. A clear defined strategy for each platform will help determine ROI and profitability.

  6. All stakeholders have to be involved in the overall strategy for future customer acquisition and retention with clearly defined marketing plans for each bit of communication across each platform.

Multi-media channel engagement is a long haul process, in much the same way as when you started promoting on social media platforms. A little bit like firing in the dark, until you can measure which platform works best for your audience.

It requires much needed thought and a set of measurable objectives – and an end plan, what is/are your main goal(s).

The most important aspect is to take into account the needs and expectations of your audience.

Setting key objectives will determine the success of your brand and organisation.











Content personalisation. Get your message heard.

In last week’s post I talked about why I love print. CMYK printing concept

In past posts I’ve focussed on content personalisation  and where it fits into your marketing efforts.

Content personalisation is important, it isn’t about getting the recipients name right but making sure you are targeting your niche audience with the right information and content.

Social media platforms are a great place to find your audiences and engage with but they can also be a great time waster and an even greater distraction and they aren’t the only place you should be broadcasting your messages.

content personalisationTelesales, emailing, tweeting, blogging, advertising are also part of the process of getting your message heard. But you, your brand, your company, services and products are just another load of noise that disappear into the social void.

The marketplace is noisy with your competitors trying to get their message heard too and your potential customers are having trouble hearing your message let alone finding and engaging with your marketing efforts.

Shouting loudly and sending the same marketing collateral into the social media world hoping that some of it will resonate with a few might work, the only problem with that approach is that people will tune out very quickly or throw your marketing collateral in the bin.

I’ve said in the past that direct mail or a personalised marketing piece can be a great way to start the conversation going and get the prospect started on the journey to purchasing.

89% of consumers get their ideas from a print advert or a direct mail piece I should know I’m one of them so I know it works.

Transactional and marketing mail is a huge market, in 2012-13 Royal Mail handled 58 million items of addressed mail everyday and supplementing your social media marketing efforts with print and mailing services is a natural starting point for multi-channel marketing messages which includes digital and paper based communications.

With economies of scale, savings on printed collateral, postal discounts either via the Royal Mail or DSA (downstream access providers), short lead times and sophisticated highly personalised targeted marketing using digital colour makes print and mailing fulfilment a great place to start the process toward customer engagement.

content personalisation

How do you deliver the right messages to your audience?

  1. Aim to provide unique and valuable information and content on your brand, service or products. Make a strategic plan for developing your audiences’ engagement through a planned process for example – a blog – email campaign – direct mail – promotion on social media. If you know where you are going you can make sure your marketing efforts aren’t wasted.
  2. Focus on one simple message not lots of different messages or content so it becomes distracting for the customer. 
  3. Use the power of pictures with words, the old adage a picture paints a thousand words rings true. We associate images with brands and we want our customers to remember us the next time they need our product or services. We also want them to associate any imagery we use with our company so it reinforces the message.
  4. Using more words wont convey the message using the right words in a more vivid and simple way are more likely to be remembered.

Steve Jobs once commented that his most hated words were branding and marketing.  He went onto say that “people associate brands with television advertising and commercials and artificial things. The most important thing was people’s relationship to the product.

Marketing is when you have to sell to somebody. If you aren’t providing value, if you’re not educating them about the product, if you’re not helping them get the most out of the product, you’re selling. And you shouldn’t be in that mode.”content personalisation

If Apple is right then we shouldn’t be in the business of selling but rather educating our customers, telling them they have a problem long before they know they have one.

Getting to a position where your audience see your marketing and recognise your brand gives them confidence in you because they see the information that you are providing as useful and is helping them in the buying process by adding value to their lives.

The are interested in hearing from you because they’ve become accustomed to receiving excellent information and expect it. It will excite them enough to start the buying process with your brand or company when they are ready.

Whether your marketing is driven solely into the social media stratosphere or you use the ubiquitous bit of paper to get your message out there your content and your message must be unique, original and consistent.

What do you think? 

Cross media marketing the case for digital VS print

cross media marketing

Has print really had it’s day and can digital really live forever?

In spite of the massive surge in digital communications, social media platforms and increased marketing personalisation, print continues to be a critical part of companies’ cross media marketing and communication mix.

Consumers or customers want choice and this requires a multi-channel communications delivery process or what is now referred to as cross media marketing.

I endeavour to promote print in the media mix I believe it continues to play an important role in our everyday lives. Some people enjoy reading in the digital world others like reading the printed word because it is tangible, personal and has fewer distractions.

Whether print remains or becomes extinct, newspapers, books, magazines and catalogues will no longer be the primary means of interacting with its audience in a profitable way. Is print really dead?

When the digital world gained momentum print was always going to be impacted with reduced volumes. The rise in digital printing allowed companies to order highly personalised printed matter from 1-50 or whatever the printed job required.

Print isn’t dead, not yet, but the reality is digital offers many advantages such as speed, flexibility, search-ability, target specific, customisation, interaction and direct.

It can be updated minute by minute and change according to what is in the news making it always up to date unlike its print contemporaries.

Digital reduces the overall cost to practically zero when compared to the production and printing of a magazine therefore how can print compete with ‘free’?

cross media marketingMarketers are already targeting their audiences online because it is cheaper and easier to deliver to market than print is; which involves design, content, production, proofing, finally print and distribution.

By the time the print job is complete it’s most likely to be out of date making digital a more attractive proposition for companies and marketing departments.

Digital affords the opportunity to engage with the audience online which is something print can’t do.

Technology and connectivity will advance and accessibility to online content will be an everywhere experience.

But I’d be surprised if print ever really goes away completely. Paper will survive because of the content it can provide to its viewer and because of the importance it has to play in the marketers’ cross media marketing campaign.

Online content is only part of the readers experience it doesn’t engage in the same way as reading a book or magazine.

Print is physical and is potent; pictures, text, strap lines, information that you can carry around with you in the form or a book, magazine, newspaper or cut out a relevant bit of information for keeping. cross media marketing

You can do the same in the digital world but it’s not quite the same and then of course there’s making the time to read it.

The role of content is changing people who are reading online need to read content that is informative, engaging and useful without feeling like they are being sold to.

Print, in this environment is becoming more powerful offering an alternative way to connect with the consumer in a world full of distractions.

Print is important for a higher level of personal engagement and not necessarily needed in the communications marketing mix all of the time.

To quickly illustrate, whilst schmoozing around a very well known top end car manufacturer franchise, because I happen to love cars, I overheard one of the salesman talking to potential customers who had requested a brochure.

Eavesdropping on the conversation the couple were interested in a particular model, they’d practically made up their minds what they wanted and had requested a brochure of the model to take home so they could decide their final colour/selection choices.

The salesman responded ‘ we don’t have printed brochures anymore, but you can download what you need from our website’.

I wasn’t surprised by the response from the couple, ‘seriously you expect me to spend £40K+ on one of your cars and the car manufacturer cant be bothered to provide a glossy brochure for me to take home?’

Digital can’t provide that glossy magazine that the couple wanted. I don’t know if they went back and bought the car but the point I thought was well made, print still has it’s place in this world.

If the couple had left with their brochure, a connection in the real world would have been made and at worst the salesman would have at least taken their details with a view to messaging them and further engaging until they did buy the car.

What is the future of print?

Marketing will continue to become even more multi-channel and as marketers become ever more savvy, print is likely to remain the channel that provides the first touch point before the consumer moves into the digital world.

A good marketing campaign will include print as part of it’s overall cross media marketing package.

Booklets, catalogues, magazines, newspapers can easily be electronically formatted for online viewing on tablets, mobiles and smartphones allowing additional tools such as embedded audio, video, links and other interactive content, something that print can’t do often before the ink is dry on the paper.

But if you are pondering on buying a new car or, you are deliberating over that kitchen you’ve always wanted there’s nothing like a nice glossy brochure to walk out of the showroom with.


How to make your message stand out with cross media marketing?

content marketing and cross media

Who is your audience? Where can you find them? What do they want?

So far I’ve sang from the tree tops about the merits of good content, why personalisation is so important and how print fits into the cross media marketing mix.

But what I haven’t shared with you is how do you make sure your content is read?

I should make one thing absolutely clear, this is not a lesson in how to write great content for the internet, this is about how you get your marketing message to stand out from the crowd.

Cross media marketing combines highly personalised targeted messages across the various types of media to seek interaction and engagement with your niche audience.

Cross media marketing is a specific, targeted and measurable marketing strategy designed to deliver consistent, persuasive and actionable messages to your target customers using a variety of social channels over a period of time that engage and reinforce your company and brand.

But it is becoming increasingly difficult to be heard by your prospect let alone engage when the sheer volume of noise from the various social channels is densely populated with mass messages.

Businesses are further hindered by the number of social media channels to use, which one, or combination of platforms are likely to give the best yield of leads or conversions.

Smaller budgets in the current economic climate with which to carry out marketing are limited.

A successful content marketing campaign combining cross media marketing that delivers content and a call to action throughout the channels simultaneously as an integrated campaign.

Brand awareness is 44% print and 37% online media therefore the importance of your brand consistency is essential and it’s not just about making sure the logo is the same across all media.

What do I need to do?

Cross media marketing and print

Cross media marketing what is it and where does it fit in with social media and print?

1. Ensure your brand is coherent across all platforms including print, website, social media. Does it convey your message, your brand and does it represent what the company, service, product stand for?

By developing a consistent brand that delivers meaningful communication your brand effectively demonstrates a strong, authoritative company that knows what they are talking about and in turn this generates trust in your business.

Branding also gives you and your company an identity and personality so that your audience become familiar with you and what you do.

Ensuring you order marketing collateral from the same supplier will guarantee consistency of your brand in the way it looks, the feel and the overall quality.

Cross media marketing focusses on the audience and not the product or service, it is customer-centric and not product-centric therefore delivery of any content or message has to start with a deep understanding of your customer’s objectives and background.

2. Successful marketing messages start with a plan. By developing a well co-ordinated message, ensuring your customer database is accurate and up to date with names and addresses is key to developing the strategy and the content that will unveil itself across all the social media channels.

cross media marketing

A cross media campaign needs to start with a plan. Who is it for, what does the message convey? What is our goal?

3. Use the information you’ve captured about your prospect, you need to understand your audience and be able to identify which platforms they engage on the most. There’s no point sending SMS or using social media if your audience is 75+ and is more likely to be responsive to a direct mail piece. In the same way delivering a message via social media to an audience who are between 18-25 years is likely to be highly effective but it depends on the message and what you are targeting.

It would be like me sending a mass message about auto-enrolment and payroll to debt collection managers, wrong audience, wrong message.

4. Understanding your audience is paramount in developing engagement. Once that’s been done then personalising the content that takes into account all the information will make the prospect more compelled to read.

Each media platform delivers content differently therefore generating a different response. Printed media provides a physical piece of advertising that the customer can read and physically engage with if this is incorporated with an email campaign it creates a better response rate than email marketing on its own.

Knowing your audience can then guide you as to the type of message you want to deliver and what the call to action will be. As I said earlier consistency and continuity are key, use the same colours, logos, images so subliminally the audience start to associate the colours, or the look with your brand. It does work otherwise marketers wouldn’t do it, the constant reinforcing of the message ensures your audience remembers that message and when the time is right it invokes in us the desire to buy from that brand or company.

Personalising the content on the direct mail piece with a PURL moves the customer to a landing page that is completely relevant to him, by asking him for more information thus making future messages more targeted to suit him.

5. Send a follow up email using the information they supplied on the landing page and provide an offer or incentive to jump to the next stage.

6. Send an automated follow up email to those that haven’t responded to either the direct mail or your email making sure there is a PURL to encourage them to go to their personalised landing page.

7. In each of the steps integrate your social share buttons – facebook, Pinterest, twitter and include it on the printed mail piece, showing how and where your company or brand can be found.

8. Finally don’t forget to measure it. Look at your response rates, open rates on email and compile a simple spreadsheet so you can see who viewed what message and on what platform.

9. Start with a two channel campaign such as a printed direct mail piece with a PURL directing them to a landing page and link to facebook then add a third channel and so forth.

10. Remember the key is knowing your audience and making sure you deliver the right content there is no point in sending an email message to a 45 year old mother of 4 directing her to a 2 seater sports car landing page. She may well desire that very car but she’s practical and needs a vehicle that can carry 4 kids therefore the email message is unlikely to light her fire.

11. What makes content and cross media campaigns so useful is the way in which they can interact with each other thus increasing the likelihood of engagement = leads = customers.

Your message should drive your niche audience to do one action only – visit a landing page, register for an event, follow on a social media channel. Give them or ask them to do too much and they lose interest and the lead is lost along with the potential for engagement.


A successful message is designed to promote your brand, develop customer relationships, show your company’s authority, subliminally seduce your audience in to remembering you so when they are ready to buy they come to ‘you’.

What do you think?

How important is it that the right message gets delivered to the right social media platform?

How relevant does your message need to be?

Why content marketing sucks?

how does content marketing fit in with print20+ years in print has provided me with a good education into what makes good and bad content. Of course this is subjective what might be great content to one is mediocre to another.

I’ve seen how customers got it very wrong and hit the spot by getting it very right.

A direct mail piece containing variable content with no relevance to the product or service, an invoice with the wrong marketing message, often a missed opportunity for suggesting to clients future products or discounts, blank spaces over a page, content that bears no relevance to what the company sells.

Giving your customer the chance to bounce from paper and join you in the digital world by offering them an incentive can be one of the most effective ways of using your content.

Content marketing is the 21st century most used catch-phrase, content is king, content is everything, content is to die for.

Good content, but not any content is a must these days for companies, organisations or brands that sell products, services and solutions.

Let’s start with a definition.

Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos. Content marketing is focused not on selling, but on simply communicating with customers and prospects. The idea is to inspire business and loyalty from buyers by delivering “consistent, ongoing valuable information”. [Wikipedia] What is content marketing

Many believe content marketing is crucial to developing and nurturing new and existing relationships, unsurprisingly, few do it properly.

What do I mean by this?

When companies decide to go down the route of content marketing it is often with little or no plan. It might start with a post card style marketing proposition in an attempt to reach customers and prospects. This is then followed up with a special offer or discount on your next purchase on a social media platform like facebook or twitter.

No planning, no continuity.

Many companies don’t think about the message they are trying to convey or what they aim to get out of the campaign.

Price, quality or a service message isn’t enough to differentiate you from your competitors and so the customer gets distracted by the price and forgets what he/she really wants in terms of a solution, product or service.

In turn this results in content that offers little or no real value to the end user, leads don’t convert into customers and sales are lost even though the brand may have captured the buyer at the first touch point.

Content marketing is about engaging and educating your customers in a subliminal way.

Content marketing is about engaging and educating your customers in a subliminal way.

Content marketing works on the proviso that there is a group of people out there wanting more information on your products and services, the content you showcase might be a solution to a problem they didn’t know they had.

It is providing information about the services and products that your business offers to help prospects that are wanting to purchase but are uncertain about making that final commitment. It is not blatant SELLING.

Content is about providing relevant information over time by creating a positive image of the company, brand or you, equipping customers to make the right decision and buy from you, it is not about lam-blasting public messages into the social media stratosphere hoping that some of the messages will stick. (Outbound marketing)

content marketing and print

Why is content important and where does print fit in to the mix?

Why does content marketing suck?

It doesn’t really I just wanted you to read my post.

Joking aside, print has conveyed this message since the beginning of time. The print industry has always been at the forefront of content. We know about the value of content in a direct mail piece, a brochure or sales letter, because we’ve been talking about it with our customers for the past 30+ years.

It doesn’t matter what the print piece is it could be an invoice as I mentioned earlier or a sales letter, it’s what’s in the content that counts.

The same principle can be attributed to digital media content. Content on the web, blogs, sales articles, email newsletters.

What has changed is the media marketing mix. Up until 5 years ago print tended to be the main vehicle for conveying content and information. Print is now just one part of the social media and marketing mix or as I like to call it part of the multi-channel engagement with customers.

The whole point is to develop interaction and engagement with customers by using all of the channels including print.

Content marketing seeks to answer questions, provide solutions and the social media channels are the mode of transport that allows this conversation to take place.

Where does print fit into the social media mix?

Let’s take a company newsletter, a magazine or a direct mail piece, the chances are it will be kicked around a building way after you’ve deleted that last ‘salesy’ email.

A great example of how paper fits into the marketing mix is the way Google interacts with its prospects and customers using direct mail.

Recently, we received a highly personalised target specific direct mail mini-brochure, about the size of an A6 post card and with 8pp (printed pages). It detailed the number of site visits, adword campaigns we are running and SEO all in a digital colour printed booklet. Targeted, strategic and personalised.

Google using direct mail? – a paper based product to deliver a marketing message. Google a multi-billion pound digital company specialising in internet related services using PRINT AND A DIRECT MAIL PIECE to promote themselves, ironic don’t you think. But, If it didn’t work they’d stop using it.

Understanding the value of print when considering your content delivery and more importantly the creative uses of print, can only enhance the customer experience.

Don’t rule out print as a potential first step in the engagement process with your customers.

content marketing helps you connect

Content helps you connect with your potential customer

Ask yourselves how you felt when you last opened a highly personalised envelope containing an individual sales message addressed to you? What did you think when you read it? If you thought wow I really like that, it’s fresh and different.

Now put yourselves into your prospects shoes, now you get the picture.

How are using print for your content marketing?

How do you see it fitting in with your marketing strategy? Please do share your thoughts, I’d love to know what you think.




What is cross media marketing and how does it fit in with paper?

Cross media marketing and print

Cross media marketing what is it and where does it fit in with social media and print?

What is cross media marketing and what does it means for businesses seeking new customers and a greater audience?

“Cross-media marketing refers to the use of two or more media types print, email, mobile and/or social in an orchestrated campaign targeting demographic and/or psychgraphic segment. These campaigns can be retention programs targeted at existing customers or acquisition programs targeted at prospective customers. A cross media campaign delivers relevant content and a call to action through multiple media simultaneously as an integrated campaign”[Source: Infotrends]

At first hand there is an assumption that cross media means simply sending the same marketing message across all types of media from social media, multi-media platforms and the ubiquitous bit of paper.

But it is really much more than that. In fact arguably paper as a medium has been at the forefront of this cross media revolution for longer than you might think.

Think of direct mail marketing and the various calls to action that can be found on the piece.

Leaflets distributed in magazines and newspapers.

TV, radio and print ads, the focal point of this is cross media marketing or a form of communication with the buyer.

Cross media seeks to establish an interaction between the various types of media elements, to engage, to interact and to encourage the customer to interact with you and the company.

Communications have changed in the last decade and print is no longer the overriding medium used to communicate with the customer but it still has an integral role to play in the process of marketing your services and products.

What makes cross media distinct from its other siblings is its ability to “interact” on line.

Unlike paper, which is intrinsically valuable to hold and touch, you can’t interact with paper in the same way as you can on social media platforms.

Paper still offers value and in a co-ordinated marketing campaign can be used very effectively with social media channels.

There are more channels of communication through to the customer than there were five to seven years ago – the internet, mobiles, smartphones, tablets, email, social media all are instant and results can be measured to provide a deeper understanding of the customer making the interaction highly personalised and specific.

cross media marketing

In contrast a direct mail piece arrives on your doorstep and the consumer might read it if the headline is captivating and the call to action is convincing enough for him to take the next step – make a free phone call, fill in and send back, whatever the call to action is at that moment, the customer interaction may well become irrelevant in a matter of minutes, unlike social media where interaction is here, now and very relevant.

cross media marketingHaving a dialogue on line with a customer or prospect produces results that are defined and measurable.

What makes a campaign become a cross media campaign is how the responses are funnelled into a single data collection point which in turn iniates the first step in dialogue with the customer.

The interaction is the key feature here how to continue and maintain that dialogue with the prospect and convert them in to a paying customer.

Cross media marketing can include variable laser/data printing, PURL’s (personalised URL’s) video web podcasts/webinars, email campaigns and social media.

Variable data print can include a direct mail piece with a printed PURL on paper which then directs the reader back to electronic communication – the internet via a QR code which can be scanned with a smartphone.

Posters, brochures, leaflets anything that can be highly personalised with the customers name, company and a content specific message make the customer interation highly personalised and individualised.

And although print media might be losing out to its social media counterpart it still retains a unique yet visible position in the cross media marketing mix.

Using paper in a strategically defined and structured cross media marketing plan – in other words being clear on the offer to the consumer, having a clear market strategy and focus and providing convincing calls to action will move the audience or customer across the various media channels enhancing their experience and encouraging them to move to the next platform.

An example might be a Pizza restaurant giving away leaflets with a QR code which when scanned takes the audience to a PURL which allows them to enter a unique and highly personalised code printed on the leaflet, which in turn offers a 2 for one pizza on the next visit and then takes them to a social media channel where they can register, like or subscribe for free cinema tickets.

Each touch point builds on the experience and engagement with the customer teasing them to move on to the next platform.

Using a PURL motivates the audience to provide more personalised information about their needs and interests because it feels personal to them.

PURL’s used in conjunction with cross media platforms provide actionable data and intelligence on the audience you are seeking to engage with. Because the message is more personalised and customer centric moving your audience to the relevant social platform where you can continue the social conversation and hopefully maintain an on-going relationship

By collecting and understanding what to do with the data determines what the next call to action should be in your on-going dialogue with the customer. More importantly it is a fundamental part in measuring your ROI (return on the investment spent in/on your media campaign)

Finally, where does cross media fit in with print?

Digital printing is helping companies to capitalise on cross media by being able to produce variable short runs at low cost where every piece of paper can be unique to the individual. Print is tactile, secure, reliable and isn’t so intrusive as social media can be.

What makes print and cross media so effective is its ability to link to electronic media successfully.

Your entire marketing mix is inter-connected and inter-related working toward driving traffic toward the website generating leads for your business with the intent to provide sales and business.

How does your cross media marketing campaign work for you? Are you doing this already? Is cross media marketing just another fancy term used for what we already do in social media?

What do you think? Please share your view with us below.

Coming next week: The Power of Personalisation

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