Thursday, February 16, 2017

Best Practices in 1:1 Printing

Personalized printing, in which marketers personalize marketing text, images, and other content based on what marketers know about the recipient, gets better results than static mail. But by itself, just dropping in data-driven content doesn’t guarantee success. Let’s look at three best practices that need to be the foundation of all 1:1 print marketing.
1. Traditional marketing rules apply.
1:1 might be personalized marketing, but it is still good old-fashioned marketing, too. Ultimately, it is all of the elements—the creative, the message, the offer, the segmentation, and the call to action—that come together to determine success. 
2. Focus on relevance, not “personalization.”
It doesn’t matter how “personalized” a document is. If it isn’t relevant to the person receiving it, it is worthless. Take the shoe market. You don’t want to market orthopedic shoes to teenagers. Orthopedics aren’t relevant to teens unless they need a birthday present for Grandpa. Clearly, this example is tongue in cheek, but you get the idea. You can personalize a document to the hilt, but if it’s not relevant, it’s a waste of print and postage.
3. Get to know your customers, then market to what you know.
The more you know your customers, the more relevant your message can be. Ask yourself, what don’t you know about your customers right now that might allow you be more relevant later? To find out, do a customer mail or email survey. Conduct a focus group. Set up survey forms on your website. Ask questions and get feedback that will let you reap better results over the long term.
4. Think “Database”
To get personalization right, you need to invest in your marketing database. This takes time, dedicated resources, and manpower, but it is one of the most important investments you can make. Develop a basic database, then refine it, add variables, and keep it clean and updated. Make sure all of the new information you gather goes back in to be used in future marketing programs.

Remember, personalization is a powerful tool, but to get the big pay-off, it cannot work alone.

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Want a Strong Brand? Don’t Do This!

When learning from other companies’ marketing campaigns, it’s important to look at what they do well. However, it’s important to look at what they get wrong, too. This way, you don’t unintentionally undermine the positive steps you’re taking. Let’s look at 5 things not to do when it comes to brand management.
1. Don’t bombard your audience.
Although you want to communicate with your audience frequently using the right channel mix (direct mail, email, mobile marketing), you don't want to communicate so frequently that you annoy them and they begin to tune you out.
2. Don't complicate your message.
It’s tempting to load up your communications with every bit of information you can right out of the gate. The risk, however, is that your audience will get overwhelmed and buy nothing at all. Keep it simple. Let your most compelling points come ringing through. 
3. Don’t go Rambo.
Don’t try to go it alone. Get perspectives on your marketing message, delivery, and approach from others in the company. Ask objective experts. Do focus groups. By all means, ask your customers! Just because your message is clear to you doesn’t mean it’s clear to everyone else.
4. Don't forget the call to action.
Once recipients have read your communication, tell them what you want them to do. Call for more information? Buy a product? Sign up for a seminar? Without a CTA, the communication can get set-aside for later, then be lost or forgotten and never acted upon.
5.  Don’t rush.
When you’ve got a great idea, it’s tempting to want to take it to market quickly. But take your time to get it right. We can often offer suggestions on targeting, mailing formats, coatings, and other critical elements of a mailing that you might not have thought of.


Need help crafting your next print marketing project? Just ask!

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Digital Print: It’s Not Technology—It’s Marketing

Do you think of digital printing as an output technology or a marketing model? The reality is, it’s both. If you don’­t think of digital printing this way, maybe you need to think more broadly about digital print.
Traditionally, marketers have used digital presses to save money and “right size” their print volumes. Print on demand and just in time document management save companies tons of money every year. Marketers who are thinking only in terms of production, however, are missing opportunities to think from a strategic marketing perspective, as well.
Say you take a booth at four industry trade shows per year and print 10,000 brochures to give away. From a cost and logistics perspective, you can use digital output to produce 2,500 brochures at a time. This allows you to minimize your upfront investment and update products between shows. Plus, you don’t need to figure out where to store the extra 7,500 brochures after the first trade show is over.
You can think about digital production from a marketing perspective, as well. Each show might draw a slightly different demographic of attendee. By capitalizing on the benefits of digital production, you can break down the runs into four highly targeted segments. This way, you can tweak the selection of products, messaging, and offers for each show based on who its attendees are and what they are looking for.
As another example, let’s say you are running on a tight budget. You can use digital presses to print and mail only to a portion of your list and have lower out-of-pocket costs. From a marketing perspective, you can also think about how you want to split this list. Do you want to mail only to your highest volume customers? How about your bottom 10%? Try to reactivate dormant customer relationships? By targeting the mailing by customer profile or demographic, you can get a better response from mailing to this portion of your list than you would have from mailing to the entire thing.
These are simple examples, but they illustrate the difference between thinking about digital printing as an output technology and as a marketing model.

How are you thinking about digital printing?

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Effective Marketing Copy Made Easy

Whether you are writing copy for direct mail, email, in-store or exterior signage, or any other type of marketing material, a few simple tricks will increase your ability to grab your audience’s attention and communicate your message more effectively. Here are some fundamental principles of writing great copy that will help you command attention:
  • Be imaginative. It’s easy to say the same thing in the same way all the time. Break out of the mold. Look for unconventional ways to communicate your message.
  • Be a salesman. Cute and clever doesn’t get you anywhere by itself. Your copy still has to motivate recipients to action. Be creative, but also be clear. Sell benefits. Give an overt call to action.
  • Put the customer front and center. Make the customer the center of the message. Talk about their problems, their challenges, and their bottlenecks. Let them identify with the message, then talk about how your products and services can solve their problems. 
  • Build trust. Part of building a brand and gaining repeat customers is establishing loyalty and trust. Represent your products in a way that is accurate, helpful, and maintains your customers’ confidence.
  • Hire a professional editor. Make sure your copy meets professional standards. Someone who is “good at grammar” isn’t sufficient. When it comes to marketing, there are rules for punctuation, capitalization, and usage that only professionals know.

Of course, there are other elements to great print marketing, as well. Good layout. Interesting graphics. Compelling offer. But great copy ties it all together. 

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.

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3 Tips for Maximizing Your Print Investment

Are you tired of hearing people talk about the benefits of going entirely paperless? We are! Especially when it comes to marketing, that’s just not a smart move. When our inboxes are clogged with spam and any company can look big and successful online, print carries weight and inspires confidence in a way that digital channels do not.  People just trust print more.
While digital channels have their place, now is not the time to give up print. But smart marketers are making their print contacts even more powerful.  Let’s take a look at three strategies that can help you make the most of your investment.
1. Focus on recent customers. Clients who have purchased from you recently know who you are. They may just need a simple reminder, such as a postcard or letter, to give them a reason to buy from you again. If you’re looking to stretch your marketing dollars, try focusing on recent customers first.
2. Know your top customers. Pay particular attention to retaining customers with the highest profit margin. Then target prospects with similar profiles so you can reap new customers that are likely to be profitable, as well. If you don’t know who your top customers are, a proactive investment in data analysis can reap big returns.
3. Be relevant. You can only satisfy buyer motivations if you understand what your prospects love and hate—their hearts’ desires and what keeps them awake at night. Knowing your customers and engaging in sincere dialogue about what they want and why they want it will pay off in repeat sales and quality referrals.
Print marketing is evolving. Success is no longer based on trying to get a “same to all” message in front of as many people as possible. It’s about marketing smart and marketing relevant, and using the tangible, confidence-building medium of print to its maximum advantage. 

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Preparing for Next Year’s Customers Today

The time to prepare for next year’s marketing campaigns is now. As we look forward to the New Year, smart marketers are getting their ducks in a row. Here is a short checklist to help you get started:

1. Wrap up your important, but not urgent projects. Finish a white paper, update your website copy, or implement a new customer relationship management tool. Clean the slate so you can start next year with gusto.
2. Strategize. Read a book or attend a conference. Research what your competitors are doing (and not doing) so you can position your messages more favorably. Make a plan.
3. Refine your approach. Test a pricing discount, a free consultation, or a value-added service in advance of a full rollout. Experiment with a different paper, ink, or finishing technique. A/B testing is your friend!
4. Play to your strengths. In an election year, there can be a lot of economic uncertainty. People won’t stop buying, but they may be more selective. Clearly state why you offer the most relevant product at the greatest value for their family, their lifestyle, and their needs. Promote value, but also relevance to them as an individual or a family.
5. Stay ahead of the channel curve. Understand all of the marketing channels your customers are using, including social and mobile media, and how they are using them. But don’t neglect print! There is a lot of digital clutter out there. When your customers open the mailbox, that well crafted direct mail piece will always stand out.


Consult with our experts today to review and update your marketing plan for the upcoming year. 

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.

Tips for Ordering Promotional Products

Promotional products, whether common items such as pens and refrigerator magnets or more unusual items such as branded toys or back scratchers, can be powerful components of a multichannel marketing campaign. They tend to be kept for longer periods of time than traditional marketing pieces and can be highly effective door openers for hard-to-reach targets, particularly in the C-Suite. But ordering promotional items isn’t like ordering print. Here is a quick checklist to make the most of your investment.
1. Don’t overload the promotional item.
Keep it simple and don’t try to overload with copy or images. Often times, a logo and phone number is all you need.
2. Avoid the rush.
You may be used to being able to rush orders for brochures and direct mail, but promotional items require more lead time.  Plan at least several weeks in advance.
3. Simplify your use of color.
The differential between single-color and multicolor printing is relatively minimal. However, promotional items are generally imprinted using silkscreen or pad printing, and every color adds  more cost. Use single-color versions of graphics and logos to keep the cost down.
4. Price breaks matter.
In the world of commercial print, you don’t want to over-order product simply to get a price break, especially when considering the cost of obsolescence. Promotional items will go out of date less quickly, however, and the price breaks with volume can be substantial. 
5.  Dimension matters.
Remember to take into consideration the final mailing cost. A more expensive promotional item that ships flat may cost less in the end than a lower priced but bulky item that needs to be mailed in a dimensional package.

Want to learn more about best-in-class use of promotional items? Talk to one of our business development experts. 

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.