In our article series focused on direct marketing we’ve covered many topics, but perhaps a surprise to some is the inclusion of print and the important role it has to play.
Print has played an active part in the past and will continue to do so as it adapts to a myriad of technological advances within the print industry. Read on to learn the important role, which print still has to play in the ever changing world of direct marketing.
Print is not dead it’s evolving
Many observers have predicted the decline of print (and direct mail in particular) but the truth is that print has its role to play in direct marketing as much as other channels do. The secret is integrating print amongst other direct marketing activities.
The emergence of digital printing has created many opportunities to experiment with designs and convert digital file formats into great looking print! Advances in printing are being made all the time from new toner types to new substrates and finishing opportunities. Variable data printing (which we discuss in more detail later) is creating greater opportunities for marketers to practice personalised direct marketing through promotional print materials which are what the customer of today is most responsive to.
Direct marketing channels where print is extensively used
When reading our article about direct marketing channels, you will see that many of the channels aren’t relevant to print (e.g. Email marketing, SMS and Telemarketing). Two channels which are directly relevant to print are:
- Direct Mail – printed collateral sent within direct mail campaigns is at the very heart of whether the campaign will be a success or not
- Event Marketing – printed promotional materials are important in conveying corporate messages at events
Big part of the remainder of this article will focus on how print can help with the above two direct marketing channels. In addition to working well with these, print also works extremely well with many indirect marketing channels such as billboards, posters, leaflets and brochures, etc.
Getting personal with print
Modern day print provides a real opportunity for direct mail campaigns to be much more personal than in previous decades. Organisations need to personalise direct mail to create one to one personal experiences with customers, rather than adopting a one size fits all mentality which has been a previous downfall of direct mail.
Historically, organisations have used traditional printing presses which require a higher degree of manual processing and don’t allow for modern day personalisation techniques.
Through the innovative use of data brands can personalise campaigns through the inclusion of variable data printing. Data is mapped onto document fields and logic is used to insert the most relevant personalised data into each field. This enables an organisation to produce an unlimited number of versions of broadly the same campaign, but personalised to each customer’s specific interests. Examples of fields which could be used include varying content by age, gender, address demographics, income bands and their previous purchasing history. Also, specific fields like the customer’s nearest store map with opening times and address information, could be variably inserted.
Benefits to expect from personalised variable data printing include:
- Increased customer content – This is an example of CRM in action. In general customers will be happier to receive targeted promotions of more interest to them. This will result in longer lasting relationships and more transactions
- Response and conversion rate increases – Undoubtedly, organisations will experience an increase in both response and conversion rates to campaigns
- ROI and revenue improvements – Due to extra levels of content, customers will spend more causing a resultant increase in both revenue and ROI of campaigns
Technology integration with print
We’ve previously written about the integration of technology with direct mail. The following are all examples of the use of print, which invokes technology use:
- Augmented reality – This includes the printing of images which when hovered on by a digital device trigger a 3D view and related information about the product
- Near field communication (NFC) – A print mailshot which includes an embedded NFC chip. When clicked on this chip, specific information about the product or service is revealed
- QR codes and PURLs – These have been around for some time. A barcode is printed in the form of a QR code. This can be scanned with a digital device and take the recipient to a specific web address with offers and details. A PURL (personalised URL) helps organisations to track the effectiveness of this approach