Today, many businesses are focusing tightly on online marketing and neglecting the benefits that a more diverse omnichannel marketing strategy can bring. While the value of online channels such as social media, email, organic search and pay-per-click advertising can’t be ignored, some brands have started placing big bets on digital print, and they’re paying off.
As consumers continue to become jaded to banner ads and email marketing, print is making headway as a highly effective channel to gain the attention of customers. An often-overlooked element of print marketing is the opportunity it creates to provide a personalized customer experience. If you invest in the creation of print marketing materials that are attractive, informative and personalized, you now have an opportunity to capture customers’ attention, even in a world saturated with marketing messages.
How Print Marketing Opens the Door to Personalization
While one third of marketers claim personalization will be the most important aspect of marketing in the future, only 1 in 10 tier-one retailers feel they currently use it effectively. Once viewed as a method that needed to be forgotten, print now allows brands to stand out from the crowd and reach their target audiences in ways that set them apart from competitors.
Today, personalization means far more than simply printing your customer’s name on a catalog or piece of direct mail. Consumers are starting to expect companies to target them with messages that highlight the particular products and services that are most relevant to their needs, preferences and lifestyle. Digital print technology makes it possible to personalize every aspect of print marketing materials, right down to the color scheme, layout, and even products shown, which is the direction brands like L.L. Bean, Amara and St. Joseph’s College have taken.
1. Personalized Catalogs Pique Interest
It wasn’t long ago that experts predicted online marketing would kill off traditional direct mail catalogs. It is no longer enough to drop a thick catalog containing details of your entire product range onto a customer’s doorstep and hope they’ll flip through the pages to find the products they want. However, many brands have relaunched their catalogs and succeeded in capturing the attention of the digital generation.
For example, L.L. Bean uses data gathered from analyzing customers’ online browsing habits to create a personalized catalog for each customer. This allows them to better serve their customers by targeting their unique interests and inevitably boosting sales. Although there aren’t many details yet, L.L. Bean is clearly seeing the benefits of print since they recently announced they’d be making another investment in print marketing as part of their new omnichannel campaign, “Be an Outsider.” This campaign will also utilize TV spots and in-store experiences.
2. Relevant Direct Mail Drives Engagement and Commitment
For personalization to be successful, it’s imperative to understand your audience’s demographic and utilize the right channels to gain their attention. When you take the time to create highly personalized, high quality marketing materials, you can develop strong relationships with your customers that deliver an excellent return on your initial marketing investment. While other channels may be ignored, print could be the bridge between simply gaining your customer’s interest and gaining their commitment, which is the approach St. Joseph’s College took with potential students.
The goal of the campaign run by St. Joseph’s College was to encourage students to commit to attending their school. These applicants had already applied, been accepted, and now needed to determine which school would be the best fit. The marketing team decided to send personalized direct mail to all accepted applicants. Each piece contained photos and testimonials from students currently in the applicant’s chosen program, as well as a unique URL that the student could access to receive a free iTunes gift card. Each piece was one-of-a-kind, addressed the student’s outstanding questions, and appealed directly to their emotions.
3. Spur Repeat Purchases and Build Loyalty with Customized Digital Print Inserts
Some brands are focusing on utilizing customer data and digital print to boost retention with their existing customer base, rather than focus on the acquisition side of the funnel. Brands like Amara, a Luxury homeware retailer, are utilizing digital print technology to create personalized print inserts that are included in package deliveries. These inserts include the customer’s name, shopping receipt and a personalized offer.
Since adding this technology, Amara’s Head of Digital Marketing, Tom Freeman, has identified a 50% growth in sales from its first-time buyer campaign. Freeman states, “Direct mail has expanded Amara’s reach, promoted our brand and relieved the pressure on our email campaigns to which only 40% of our customers subscribe during the checkout process. Today, we are using the inserts to reach the remaining 60%, and it has made a difference.”
Even in the face of the incredible success of online marketing over the last decade, print marketing is far from dead. Many digitally savvy brands are including print as part of their omnichannel marketing plan and are reaping the benefits.