In most businesses today, space comes at a premium. Desks are crammed together with co-workers close and the closet at the end of the hall is full of stuff. Add to that the jumble of materials needed to go to more than one trade show per year and you’ve got some serious space management issues. In fact, several of our print communication customers require us to call before we make any deliveries because they simply have no extra room.
It may seem a bit “old fashioned”, but, if you really want to stand out in your marketplace take a minute and say Thank You with a handwritten note. People are busy like you. They get hundreds of emails every day – just like you. Their business mailbox, however, is full of bills and “junk mail” from people they don’t know. If you put a handwritten note in that box you will be memorable and you’ll stand out above your competition for sure.
You need to communicate a special deal, share event details, send out invitations, notify customers of an address change, and of course, it has to be done yesterday. There are some things you depend on others to help you with, mail lists, graphic design, copy, budget approvals, and more, but you still have crazy short deadline to deal with and you have to get this message out now. While there is a lot of organization and coordination required to get the project ready for printing and mailing, there are things that can be done well in advance that can help you be better prepared for the communication emergency.
Haptic marketing has been a buzzword for a few years now. Marketers are applying the importance of touch. “Haptic” is to touch as “Optics” are to vision. Touch is incredibly important to grabbing the attention of your audience.
Increasingly, haptics have invaded the digital space. Also called tactile marketing or sensory marketing, digital ads employ haptics to engage the user.
There is a lot of talk in the marketplace about Portals these days. Many websites offer a space to set up and account and login so you can check on orders and track your shipments. Libraries want you to use your library card to sign in on their website to access more of their services. Heck, your Urologist probably has one he wants you to use. But is the portal your printer offers good for you or good for them?
Some projects are best suited as a digital communication while others really should be printed. Some programs could benefit from both printed pieces and digital resources. With ever-increasing sales targets and tight marketing budgets we need to get this right. These tricky questions can be answered more easily by breaking the decision down into smaller parts.
At Sara Lee, we had this brand called L'Eggs. A pair of pantyhose that came inside of an egg that was sold in the grocery store - just a great brand.
“Nothing beats a great pair of L'Eggs.”
It was a 500 million dollar brand in the 80s with an interesting concept. You could buy your pantyhose in a grocery store.
Understanding the customer’s needs is critical to moving them through their customer journey in their relationship with you. Like any relationship, it's based on communication - a two-way conversation with your customer. Let's face it. We’re not very good at it. And that's because we aren’t that good at listening. Discovering their pain points, and challenges as well as communicating your ideas, or solutions requires not only hearing but actively listening to the customer.
In this interview with Elaine Fogel, marketing and branding expert, she answers a few questions about her work, her experience and gives us some practical tips.
- What is the most difficult or unusual thing you have tried to do marketing for?
- What do you love about what you do? What do you enjoy doing marketing for?
- What can you tell us about the importance of printed marketing materials?
As consumers, we have never had access to as much information as we now have. Whether buying a car or selecting a service provider, in just a few clicks we can evaluate costs, benefits, features and reviews and then make good choices quickly. All this product information is readily available, easy to interpret, and quick to access. For consumers, more data typically equals better decisions.
For marketers, not so much.
Print marketing materials? Remember those? The ones you can touch and feel?
Well, printed materials may have lost some luster since the advent of digital marketing, but, know this…. they are experiencing a resurgence. Marketers are realizing that branded print collateral can be an integral part of a sound marketing mix.
First of all, check out these surprising stats about print:
Marketing portals help businesses control their brand, support their sales teams, and better allocate company resources, but they aren’t right for every company. Answer the following questions to help determine if portal is right for your organization.
- Does your company have a marketing department or people assigned to marketing?
- Does your company have a sales team, reps, agents or dealers?
A surprising thing happened during a recent brainstorming session I led for a retail client. We were supposed to be coming up with ideas for improving the company’s customer experiences, but the head of operations could not think of a single new customer service idea to explore. And the development leader failed to identify any new ideas for store layout or building features. And the merchandising vice president had difficulty understanding why “product” was one of the categories we were discussing.
Boxes of stationary under the stairwell with the old logo; shelves in the warehouse with outdated catalogs; pallets with posters promoting last month's event; all good material - none of it useful anymore. As circumstances and strategies change, branding and messaging evolves, marketing collateral often needs to be updated. All these improvements are important to the success of the company so having a plan can help reduce obsolescence and keep waste down to a minimum.
It's an odd question when talking about a brand. Considering that brands are things, not people, it seems silly to assign them a gender identity. And yet, research shows that we do see gender signals from branding. Consumers clearly like thinking of brands as male or female and there is a strong motivation for marketers working with a brand to use gender classification to connect more clearly with their customers.
Specialization in marketing teams often leads to print and digital marketing strategies becoming misaligned. Tech savvy, data-focused marketers managing digital media including social, paid, content, etc., and designers, wordsmiths, layout-conscious artists preparing catalogs, brochures, and other print items. Centering the strategy around the customer experience makes it easier to keep strategies aligned.
The premise of Inbound Marketing is a shift of focus from the marketers needs to the prospects or buyers needs. It sounds obvious but the difference in perspective has a tremendous impact on the content and direction of campaigns. Can direct mail, considered part of our legacy methodology, be updated to become a part of this new customer-centric marketing?
Relevance of direct mail is determined by the level of creativity, context and value. There is a tremendous opportunity to provide a special experience at the mail box. Think of the happiness you feel when you get a card from a loved one, or excitement when opening a gift, or curiosity when getting a bulky package.
How to decide on whether to provide a marketing collateral as an online digital resource or as a printed piece. There is a need for both in a balanced marketing stack but knowing which materials to include in each category can be complicated. Here are a few questions you may ask yourself as you decide on the best medium for each.
Your brand defines the company. It's how customers identify you. You've painstakingly selected the colors, fonts, and design elements that best represent your organization, and it's your duty to protect and guard this asset.
Yet, the marketing department always seems short staffed and overburdened with the day-to-day demands, deadlines for ad campaigns, product launches and events.