Recently, I had the chance to spend some time at the DMA 2011 conference in Boston. While I absolutely enjoyed my time at Graph Expo, I was excited to attend a show that primarily consisted of marketing agencies and in-house marketers. I was looking forward to seeing what topics were trending, what challenges were being hotly discussed, and what technologies and channels were being debated.
It’s certainly very important for all of us that are associated to the printing industry to understand what marketers are thinking and talking about. Thus, I’d like to share some of my observations from DMA 2011. I hope that you find them helpful!
1. Marketers are absolutely in need of integrated solutions:
One theme that seemed to exist in many of the conference sessions was the need to break down silos and to integrate marketing efforts. As more and more marketers move to reach their customers and prospects through multiple channels, many of them have fallen into the trouble of storing and managing multiple databases. Those databases might store conflicting or simply varying bits of information about their contacts. This harms a marketer’s need to try to communicate with their audience in real-time. It also prevents a marketer from truly delivering one-to-one and relevant messages.
Thus, service providers (especially those that are committed to offering marketing services through multiple channels as opposed to only print, mail, or fulfillment) have a tremendous opportunity to promote and offer solutions of that nature to their customers to help them solve those challenges.
2. The Primary Discussion was Digital — But Print Still Has a Place in the Marketing Mix!:
I won’t lie – many of the discussions at DMA 2011 centered around online marketing and other digital marketing initiatives. But there were still a number of great case studies shared that involved print and direct mail components. Some of the main reasons why I heard marketers share why they still chose print as a channel included:
- It is tangible.
- It can be personalized.
- It can create a deeper emotional impact.
- It can be a very effective way to drive people to online content.
3. When it comes to social networks, businesses have a lot to learn:
Judging by the attendance of various sessions, many companies are still striving to learn how to effectively use social networks in the B-to-B space. Here were a few of the tips that I heard that I’d like to share:
- Twitter’s search features can be one of the most powerful websites for companies to utilize. It enables us to really listen to what’s on the minds of customers and prospects.
- Facebook’s dominance in the social networking space is truly astounding — thus, we most likely all need to invest more resources there. They have 800 million users! Nearly half of them log in each day. 30 billion pieces of content are shared there each month! Those numbers clearly dwarf the activity that other social networks can share. With that much volume, it’s certain that some of the content being shared and discussed has to do with companies and products. In order to capitalize on the opportunities there, business of all shapes and sizes must be on Facebook too.
- People love video. It’s true. Video is being used more and more by marketing agencies and other companies to tell their stories. I truly think that many service providers can utilize video to do the same thing
4. Mobile and QR Codes Were Huge… and Growing:
There were a ton of QR Codes at the conference. They were on posters, signs, collateral, and clothes. While that is a good sign to me when it comes to printing, I also noticed that most of the QR Codes were not used 100% properly.
- Primarily, most of them seemed to point to non-mobile websites. I truly think that there is a tremendous opportunity for service providers to grow their business by doing more than just providing or printing the QR Code; but rather, to also offer the building and hosting of the mobile website or mobile landing page.