Monday, August 6, 2018

Proof That Personalized Content Marketing Works


While push marketing remains an important component of any customer acquisition or retention program, pull marketing has become even more so.  Often times, consumers have already done much, if not the majority, of their research before reaching out to a salesperson. This is why content marketing has become such a critical part of any marketing program.
One of the most common forms of content marketing is the customer newsletter. It educates, creates thought leadership, and presents the company as a valued resource. Adding personalization makes this content even more compelling. One community-based healthcare system found out just how much.

After sending a traditional newsletter for years, the organization began matching the content to what it knew of patients’ health conditions. After about a year, it conducted a readership survey to find out how the new approach was being received.

The results?
• 93% of respondents felt the articles were relevant and of interest.
• 73% read the entire newsletter every time it came in the mail.
• 77% said it was easier and quicker to read.
• 95% said they became aware of services that were previously unknown.
Not only did the healthcare system solidify its relationship with existing patients, but nearly every one of these patients learned about some of the provider’s services they didn’t know about before. That’s great cross-marketing!

Because the organization tracked which articles patients received as well as patients’ usage of services, it was also able to calculate ROI on its efforts. ROI on individual articles ranged from $50 to $444 per dollar spent.
Would you like to add personalized content into your company newsletters? Talk to us about how!

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

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Are Your Fonts Like a 1970s Suit?

On one hand, using multiple fonts in a print layout can open you to a world of creativity. On the other hand, if you use too many fonts (or if the fonts you choose don’t work well together), you don’t end up with creativity. You end up with a mess.
Type often obeys the law of engineering “form follows function.” That is, a typeface should be appropriate to what the typesetter designed it to do. At the same time, that form needs to be aesthetically pleasing. The basis of good typographic design is balancing the two.
For example . . .
Bell Gothic was designed in 1938 to improve the legibility of phone directories, as well as provide economy of space.
Frutiger was designed to make airport signage easy to read from a distance.
Courier inspires a sense of nostalgia.
When choosing a font, choose a font appropriate to the task at hand. Think of fonts like clothing. What we wear should be appropriate to the weather as well as to the context (formal versus casual), but also be attractive. Likewise, some fonts look dated and scream “1970s,” the typographic equivalent of a plaid leisure suit.
Like everything else, typefaces go in and out of fashion. While it’s tempting to think that no one really pays close attention to fonts, there is often a subconscious visceral reaction to bad type, not unlike the subconscious reactions that we have to poor color combinations or out-of-date clothing.
Understanding how font choices affect the perception and reception of documents is one of the crucial elements to good design. You should not treat it lightly. If you need help, just ask. You can use one of our in-house designers or we can recommend a good designer to assist you. 

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

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Visual Differences Between Digital and Offset


Gone are the days of debating the benefits of digital vs. offset printing. With the quality being nearly indistinguishable between the two, most marketers hardly think about it anymore. However, there are still production differences between digital and offset printing, and it’s always good to know what they are.

Most digital presses use dry toner. Consequently, one of the visual differences between digital and offset is how the toner impacts the brightness of the print.

Toner tends to sit on top of the sheet rather than soaking into it like offset ink. This results in a vivid image that can be slightly shinier than offset. Some digital presses use toner suspended in liquid (sometimes called “ink” and other times “liquid toner”) that creates a slightly softer image.
If you will be coating your pieces, the visual difference between offset and digital disappears. This is because the coating masks any difference in gloss between the two. While many marketers prefer the bright, glossier image of toner-based digital, if you are among those who prefer the softer look (and are not using liquid toner printing), you may want to consider a matte coating.

Another difference between offset and digital is how the presses handle large areas of solid color. Although digital presses can print 100% solids, if your design will be using large areas of solid color, it is recommended that you build your solids using color blends. If you are printing black, for example, instead of using 100B, you might use 40C, 40M, 40Y, and 100B.
There are other subtle differences between digital and offset, but in the end, what’s most important is whether the printed piece achieves your marketing goals. We’re here to make sure that, regardless of which process you use, the answer is unequivocally yes!

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

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Friday, June 22, 2018

5-Point Checklist for Top-Notch Folds


First impressions matter. When a recipient reaches into his or her mailbox or picks up a piece of marketing collateral, what impression are they getting from your company? The quality of the folds you use is one of those details that matters more than you might think.  Here is a five-point checklist to make sure your piece looks its best.
1. Create a mock-up.
Before finalizing the design, create a mock-up to make sure everything looks right. For example, check that folds don't run awkwardly through visual elements and that everything lines up correctly. You don't want to be making last-minute corrections because something got missed.  
2. Double-check the folding sequence. 
When the piece is run through the folding machine, the folding sequence is often different from how the panels appear on the printed sheet. Make sure that the panels are in the correct order even after the piece gets folded.
3. Allow for creep.
If you are doing multiple folds, adjust for creep. Especially with thicker paper, every time the sheet is folded, it moves over a little each time. If you are doing roll folds, each consecutive panel must be slightly narrower.
4. Don't assume it's machine foldable.
Don't assume that every piece is machine foldable. With more complex constructions, pieces may need to be hand folded.  You don't want to be redesigning the piece right before the deadline to avoid an unexpected expense. 
5. Consider the paper grain.
Ensure that the folds go with the grain of the paper, not against it. This will minimize the potential for cracking across those fold lines. If you have heavy ink coverage, you may want to pre-score the folds to keep them crisp.
These are five simple steps that can make for a piece that stands out in its professionalism and stays within the budget. Before creating any complex folds, talk to us first!

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



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Showcasing Print in an Omnichannel World


Print remains the bedrock of great marketing. However, marketing still needs to be multi-channel. As put so well by Lazar Dzamic of Kitcatt Nohr Digitas, a London-based creative agency, “People don’t think ‘offline’ and ‘online.’ They just see a brand in all its touch points.” In other words, there isn’t print marketing and digital marketing. It’s all just marketing. So how does print fit into this larger, omnichannel world?
Regardless of channel, marketing success starts with data. You want to gather as much data about your target audience as possible to make the message richer and more effective. You also want to present a consistent brand and marketing message across channels.
Here are some best practices to get you started:
    Verify and correct existing customer data.
    Update and expand on that data to learn as much as possible about each customer.
    Segment messages based on full customer profiles.
    Layer on personalization.
    Be consistent in your branding and messaging across all touch points.
When you develop the print portion of your campaigns, focus on those aspects that are unique to print or that are particularly suited for it:
    Invest in exceptional design that leaps off the page. 
    Capture the richness and depth of printed color to create a lasting impression that digital cannot match.
    Add special effects such as coating, die-cuts, or embossing.
    Integrate tactile media such as textured surfaces, unusual coatings, or memorable stocks.
    Use dimension, folds, pulls, and other interactive elements to create a physical 3D experience.
Print offers unique benefits that cannot be replicated on a screen. Take advantage of them!

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


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Does Your Multichannel Strategy Need an Update?


When was the last time your print marketing strategy was freshened up? When was the last time you looked at your creative approach, value proposition, and media mix with fresh eyes? If it’s been a while, maybe now is the time.  Here are three areas to consider.

1. Does each tactic prove its worth?
Technology is cool, but don't throw new things into the mix just for the sake of doing it. Test, evaluate, and incorporate new components in ways that create results.
Say you make your first contact with a customized postcard, direct mail letter, or self-mailer that drives the reader to a personalized URL.  Offer the option of connecting to the site by either entering a web address or scanning a QR Code.  Track your metrics to see which channel recipients do and do not respond to.
No matter which response mechanisms you use, be sure to look at more than top-line numbers. You might think that a response rate is “low” until you discover that it gets the most responses from a segment of your target audience that is particularly important to you.

2. Demographics are important — go further.  It may be tempting to base your marketing efforts on the most readily available information, such as gender, age, and income. For the best results, however, take it a step further. Seek to understand what your prospects care about.  Today’s consumer wants to be an individual, not a segment. 

3. Track and measure your results. Which elements of the campaign do you track? How do you determine a “response rate”? Is it a click or a scan? Is it the completion of a form or a purchase? Connect your marketing goals with clear metrics, so you know which of your marketing efforts are working and which are not.
Marketing is about results, and consumers often respond to different tools and tactics at different times. Track, test, and measure so you can keep up.

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



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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Is Social Media Print’s New Best Friend?


While print and social media may compete for your marketing dollars, they don’t have to compete for your customers. In fact, using them together can make your marketing more effective.  Let’s look at five ways print and social media can work together.
1. Print drives traffic to social media.  
How do you drive traffic to your social media sites? Often, it’s with print. Whether it is through direct mail, store signage, or company invoices, print is often your customer’s first exposure to your social media presence.
2. More channels help you reach more people.
Even in today’s tech-driven world, not everyone uses social media or uses it on a regular basis. Use print to ensure that you are reaching the largest swath of your audience as possible. As the old adage goes, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”
3. Say it again . . . and again.  
Consistently, studies show that reinforcing your message through multiple channels increases brand awareness, heightens engagement, and boosts response rates. The combination of print and social media, along with other traditional and digital media, is more effective than any single channel alone.
4. Boost credibility.
Survey after survey shows that consumers still trust print more than they trust online media. A survey conducted by Ball State University’s Center for Media Design in coordination with ExactTarget found that even Millennials are more likely to be influenced to make purchase decisions based on communications they receive by email and direct mail rather than through social media advertising.
5. Print has staying power.
Your message on social media might stay for a few hours, then gets buried under the avalanche of other messaging. Print has staying power. Your direct mail piece might live on someone’s desk or bulletin board for weeks or months.

Using print and social media isn’t an “either or” proposition. Understanding when and where to use each channel is the key to getting the best results.


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


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