Does 1:1 Printing Really Make a Difference?

1:1 printingMore and more, we are hearing about 1:1 printing, print personalization, or variable data printing, to achieve higher response rates and better ROI. But does personalizing by name, geographic location, or demographic information really make that much difference? Can’t you just achieve higher response rates with a better offer? An over-sized postcard? Or a really great design?

These things do increase response rates, but they aren’t replacements for a personalized approach. Consider these research findings:

  • 56% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name.  (Accenture)
  • 59% of consumers say that personalization influences their purchase decisions. (Infosys)
  • 84% of consumers say personalization makes them more likely to open a direct mail piece. (InfoTrends)

Personalization works because it’s, well, personal. From a consumer perspective, 1:1 printing is less about what’s good for the marketer and more about what’s good for them.

Why does it work? Just think about how you are being marketed to. What motivates you as a consumer? When you shop online, you are asked to register so that the site can greet you by name. Cookies follow your every move so that when you return, the page views are customized to your purchase or viewing patterns. At the grocery store, your receipt is printed with coupons based on the items you just purchased. When you receive mail from your financial advisor, it contains information only on those funds in which you have invested or that are relevant to you based on your past investment history.

Consumers—all of us—are used to being marketed to on a 1:1 basis, even if we don’t think about it this way. Personalization has become so ingrained in our experience that we barely realize it anymore. If you aren’t incorporating personalization into your print marketing (as well as your email and other digital channels), you are out of step with marketing’s cutting edge.

Need help personalizing your next print or multichannel marketing campaign?  Let us help!

Measure Success Of Your Marketing Efforts

Creating a personalized print or multichannel marketing campaign takes significant investment in time, energy, and resources. You want to get maximum return on your investment. How do you know what is working and what isn’t? You have to measure the results.  

Measuring results goes beyond determining ROI. Sure, it’s important to know what kind of return you are getting, but it’s just as important to ask why you got the results you did. What factors influenced the conversion rate and value per sale? Why was this campaign more or less effective than the one before?

Say you give respondents a chance to win a sweepstakes for $500 if they log into a website and fill out a survey. The campaign generates a 5% response rate with 28% of those responses converting to sales of $200 each. It’s important to calculate the ROI on this campaign, but it’s equally important to test which parts of the campaign were responsible for the results and what happens if you change them.

For example, what if you increase the incentive to $2,500? Does the response rate go up? If so, does the dollar per sale increase, as well? Or does it not have a significant effect on the response rate or value per sale at all?

Don’t stop at one or even two tests. Analyze over time.

  • If you increase the incentive even more, does the response rate continue to go up? Or does it flatten out?
  • Does the effectiveness change based on the audience you are targeting?
  • Does a sweepstakes to win a free mountain bike motivate one audience, while a Nintendo Wii motivates another?

Mix it up, and test, test, test. This is critical intelligence that will help you refine your programs over time and get the maximum results out of your marketing dollars.

Need help? Just ask!

Effective Branding And Its Importance For Your Business

effective brandingEffective branding is one of the cornerstones of any viable marketing strategy, and if you have an interest in growing your business, it is one of the most important parts of your business plan. Effective branding creates an enduring perception in the minds of your customers and distinguishes you from your competitors. An investment in branding can pay off in several ways.  

  • Increase mind share –  When you want a soda, you think of Coca-Cola or Pepsi. If you need a tissue, Kleenex comes to mind. Are you top-of-mind in your market segment? The sensory components of printed materials engage readers on an emotional level, connecting customers to your brand in a way electronic marketing can’t match. Consider incorporating a gloss varnish, embossing, a distinctive die cut, or one of the many textures now available in papers and other substrates.
  • Build loyalty – A memorable experience with a quality brand creates loyalty, which translates not only into the likelihood of a repeat sale but also an increased probability that the customer will buy related items from the same brand.  
  • Benefit from referrals – People who have never used your product or service may still recommend it if they’ve encountered your brand enough times to develop a sense of familiarity. Printed collateral can be more visible to the casual observer as the prospect doesn’t have to consciously seek out your message. Be sure to include your social media information on your printed products.     
  • Command a premium price – Effective branding can lift your product or service out of the ambit of a commodity, so you have buyers eager to pay more for what you’re selling.  Many companies sell coffee, so what makes people stand in line and pay top dollar at Starbucks?  
  • Lower your marketing cost in the long run – Although you have to invest resources to create a strong brand, once it is established you can maintain it without having to re-tell your story. Many budget-conscious marketers rely heavily on electronic media, but research shows that people still prefer print.  We simply don’t have the same visceral reaction to an e-brochure as a professionally printed piece.      
  • Less risk for the consumer equals more sales for you – If someone is put on the spot to make a decision, he will most likely choose the brand-name supplier.  Consider monthly postcard marketing so prospects interact with your brand regularly.  Printed materials have the advantage over electronic media based on portability and permanence.

Effective branding is a continuous process.  Evaluate your brand’s market position periodically to make sure it’s fresh and relevant.  

Sales Literature That Sells

sales literatureSales literature is some of the most important content your business creates. It stands in for you when you’re not around, carrying your brand identity and reputation to the marketplace. It plays a crucial role in your business and needs to be planned out carefully.

The first place to start when creating sales literature is what you’re going to say. Keep your content focused and on point. It’s tempting to overload your documents with every capability and feature you offer, but this can overwhelm and disengage someone who is just learning about you. As they move through the sales funnel, you can introduce them to more information moves them toward converting. At this stage, however, the content should be intriguing and the call to action persuasive enough to inspire the reader to learn more.

Once you have your copy set, the next step is the design of your sales literature. You have just a fraction of a second for someone to decide whether or not they’ll pay attention to your piece. Your design must grab people by the eyeballs and refuse to let them go. Focus on a few tidbits that are important for your audience to know. Awards your business has won recently or facts that will motivate them to action (e.g. 9/10 customers rate our rug cleaning service as heavenly). If your content is the meat and potatoes, your design is the plate presentation. And as anyone on Food Network will tell you, we eat with our eyes first.

Whatever your create, be sure that it fits in with your overall marketing plan. Is the objective to drive new sales, cross-sell to existing customers, or communicate better with your stakeholders? The appropriate format (postcard, circular, product data sheet, package insert, newsletter) will naturally follow. Combinations of different elements—paper types, colors, repetition—can produce powerful subliminal effects, so it is important that you work with a professional designer. Be sure you also consider portability. An oversized piece might gain attention, but what will make someone pick up your piece and take it with them and then pass it along to others?

Even the best sales literature isn’t going to close the sale by itself. What it will do is provide outstanding sales support, reinforce your message, and stay behind as your brand messenger. So pay attention to your sales literature and give it the attention it deserves.

3 Tactics To Build A Future Proof Business

tactics to future proof businessA future proof business may seem impossible with how rapidly the world changes. There’s a few ways to ensure that your business is around for decades to come; though none of them have to do with evolving technology or the latest software. These tactics focus on people. Both your customers and your employees are vital to future proof business in ways that are nearly ironclad.

Do you approach your marketing as short or long-term investment? Increasingly, marketers are taking a long-term view, developing plans to focus on results over months and years as opposed to boosting sales in the next few days or weeks. In this view, marketing has a twofold purpose: to foster immediate sales and to plant seeds for tomorrow.

You must first identify the factors that will further your company’s long-term marketing goals. You might not have a perfect understanding of every looming competitive, economic, legal, sociological, or technological force, but you can be aware of trends in your industry. Arm yourself with information on the longevity and profit potential of your present market’s lifecycle as well as emerging market opportunities so you can begin positioning your business for the future.

These 3 tactics will help you build a future proof business regardless of business size or budget:

  1. Provide Customer Service That Sets The Industry Standard – An angry customer is a golden opportunity to turn them into one of your most loyal customers. If you go above and beyond every single time you will develop a reputation that could be the difference between you and your competitors.
  2. Cultivate Elite Customers – Your best customers, those who are easy to work with, who really like you, and who have a positive history with your company, are a goldmine of quality referrals. Strengthen existing relationships and build new ones by giving your top clients and their guests special offers, insights, and previews of your innovations.
  3. Create Top-Of-Mind Awareness – Not everyone needs your product or service today, but many will at some point in the future. Capitalize on your vision of emerging needs and trends, communicated using our suite of multi-channel marketing tools and techniques, to get your product in front of tomorrow’s customers now.

It takes time for the seeds you plant today to germinate into future business. Essential to all of this is to communicate effectively with your target audience. Consult with us to learn how our technology and expertise can support these efforts.

Logo Redesign Tips

Logo redesignLogo redesign should be approached with the same mindset as updating your home to add some curb appeal. No, really! Your logo is the front porch of your business. It is the image that will likely be the first impression for many prospective customers, so it’s not a project that should be approached lightly. A good logo is an up-to-date visual representation of your brand. It should give your audience(s) a positive feeling about your business. So, don’t open MS Paint, draw a big rectangle, and put some big font over it. That is…not ideal.

If you are considering a logo redesign, here are some things to discuss with your designer (that you’ve vetted thoroughly):

  • What do you want your logo to say about your business? 
  • Who are your competitors and target customers?
  • How will you implement your logo? Print? Web? Social media? This will allow the designer to create a logo that is appropriately scalable.  
  • If your logo relies on gradients, reflections, or other digital effects, how will it look embroidered on a shirt or imprinted on a promotional item? An easy way to figure that out is to look at your logo in its simplest form.  Does it hold its own in black-and-white?  

Answering these questions will help your designer position your brand appropriately, both for the market and for the intended marketing uses.

Let creativity abound. There’s no single formula for creating an effective logo.  Consider the highly visible Microsoft, Olympic, and Starbucks redesigns.  Microsoft unveiled its first new logo in a quarter of a century last year, adding a splash of color and a graphical element to its name. Similarly, the new Olympic logo spelled out Rio 2016 and used the yellow, green and blue of the Brazilian flag. Contrast that with the latest Starbucks logo, which uses only one color and no reference to the Starbucks name or coffee. The green, twin-tailed mermaid represents the brand’s personality rather than the product.  

If logo redesign is important to these marquee brands, it’s certainly something for your business to consider. However, test market any changes with your target audience before embarking on a full-scale redesign. The price of a logo redesign (again) is more than just the cost of the image. It’s the expense of rolling it out across your enterprise.

Don’t enter a logo redesign lightly. Have questions? We’re happy to help!

Digital Printing: How To Take Advantage

digital printingDo 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?

Effective Marketing Copy Made Easy

marketing copyWhether you are writing marketing copy for direct mail, email, signage, or any other type of material, a few simple guidelines will increase your ability to grab your audience’s attention and communicate your message more effectively. Here are some fundamental principles of writing great marketing copy that will help you command attention:

  1. Be Creative – It’s easy to say the same thing in the same way all the time. It’s also a terrific way to bore your audience to death. You have a fraction of a second to grab someone’s attention so don’t waste it with the same copy your company has used since dinosaurs roamed the earth.
  2. What’s In It For Me – Cute and clever doesn’t get you anywhere by itself. You still need to convince customers your product or service has a benefit for them. Many marketers forget this, doing the bare minimum to achieve the sale. Make your audience so excited to spend money with you that you have a line outside your door or your website crash from too much traffic. That’s your goal.
  3. Be Concise – Being clever and clearly stating what’s in it for the customer is important. So is being brief. Time is our most precious commodity, so don’t use more time than necessary to communicate your message.
  4. Build Trust – If you betray your customer’s trust, you won’t be in business very long. Use your marketing copy to build a strong relationship with your audience and you’ll set your business up for years to come.
  5. Hire A Professional – Make sure your copy meets professional standards. Someone who is “good at grammar” isn’t sufficient. When it comes to marketing copy, 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. Need some tips? We’re happy to talk with you about that and more.

Print Marketing Strategy in a Digital World

print marketing strategyThe New Year is the perfect time to rethink your print marketing strategy, revamp your messaging, and refresh your brand. This requires an understanding of the role traditional ink on paper plays in a time when technology adoption and digital delivery are reshaping marketing and customer engagement. We have a few tips that will help revitalize your print marketing strategy.

  1. Invest in customer retention – It costs less to keep the customers you have than to capture new ones, so it is important to keep your customers engaged with a consistent multichannel marketing plan. Maybe you’ve abandoned a print newsletter for an e-version, but your email is getting lost in the inbox and anti-spam legislation is creating new challenges for deliverability. Mailing a newsletter, particularly one that uses variable data to deliver a personalized  message, is a great way to keep your company top of mind.
  2. Get to the point – Your customers have more choices and less time than ever before. Use powerful words to concisely express how you will meet their needs.
  3. Be the customer – Get out of your bubble. Too often, companies are marketing as to what THEY think their customers want as opposed to what customers ACTUALLY want. Do some market research and make sure your strategies and tactics line up with how your customers want to be communicated with.
  4. Freshen up – If you’re anticipating a change in management, introducing a new product or service, or celebrating a significant business milestone, consider a brand refresh. With slight revisions to your branding elements and positioning, you can preserve your brand’s existing equity while infusing new energy into your offerings. Balance this against the consistency of your brand. Change for change’s sake is rarely a wise strategy to employ.

Need help navigating the increasingly complex world of print marketing strategy? Let us help you get 2017 off to a profitable start!

Tips for Ordering Promotional Products

promotional productsPromotional products serve as a lasting reminder of your brand long after you’ve parted ways with your customers. Whether you use common items such as pens and refrigerator magnets or more unusual items such as branded toys or back scratchers, promotional products tend to be kept for longer periods of time than traditional marketing pieces. This makes them 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 your promotional products – Keep it simple and don’t try to overload with copy or images. Often times, a logo and phone number is all you need.
  1. Avoid the rush – You may be used to being able to rush orders for brochures and direct mail, but promotional products require more lead time.  Plan at least several weeks in advance.
  1. Simplify your use of color – The differential between single-color and multicolor printing is relatively minimal. However, promotional products 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.
  1. 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 products will go out of date less quickly, however, and the price breaks with volume can be substantial.
  1.  Dimension matters – Remember to take into consideration the final mailing cost. You may find that more expensive promotional products that ship 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.

Imagine the Paperbilities® and discover new ideas for your next stellar print project. Our customers share creative samples and ideas to get your mind moving away from that blank screen or page and into an outstanding finished product. For your viewing pleasure -- Enjoy!


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