How Will Digital Print Integrate with Intent-Based Marketing?

By | February 15, 2011

As we head into DSCOOP, all thoughts are turned to the future of digital print. But if we want digital printing to thrive, we have to remember that digital print doesn’t live in a vacuum. Our idea of “multi-channel marketing” as personalized direct mail that sends recipients to personalized URLs and then following up with non-responders by email is an effective but limited view of what multi-channel marketing is all about.

Here’s why I bring it up — and what I’m increasingly concerned about. The online world is making huge strides in what they call “micro-targeting” and “intent-based marketing.” In other words, they are using geographic and demographic information about online viewers to customize or even personalize advertising on the fly.

The other day, I was reading about Adchemy, which allows marketers to analyze consumer intent across online marketing channels. It ties together consumer’s behavior using search, social media, display advertising, and other media, analyzes it, and then allows advertisers to serve up the most relevant ads to the online viewer. For example, Adchemy might compare consumers’ Google searches with their Facebook likes and the online banner ads they click on, then based on this information, decide what ads make the most sense for them.

In Media magazine’s annual “Agencies of the Year” issue, it opened with Mediabrands and its empire of small specialty firms. Among them is Reprise Media, a search and social media specialty shop focusing on intent-based marketing much like Adchemy. Then there were Mediabrands’ efforts to develop and place APIs directly into display ads, making them dynamic and capable of receiving data that instantaneously updates their relevance to specific consumers at the very time they are viewing them.

To illustrate how an API-based ad might work, Monahan gives an example of a banner ad for an allergy medication brand that has an API connecting it to a real-time weather database updating pollen counts so that could be relevant to a consumer’s decision to use the brand. Other obvious applications could tie into any real-time databases connecting ads to dynamic, relevant databases about weather alerts, traffic patterns or even social media feeds from Facebook, Twitter, or just about anywhere else a strategist, creative or programmer could think of. [1]

We are entering into an online world of hyper-personalization. Print should be an integral part of this mix. People don’t only live in the virtual worlds of mobile, social media, and the Internet. They live in the real world, too. Sometimes it’s easier to find them and communicate with them in a house, on a poster, or on a billboard than it is online. But when we are looking at generations of consumers (and business owners) who are more comfortable reading on iPads than print and who spend more time on their phones texting than talking, they need to be reminded of that.

In order to remind them, however, it takes more than an understanding of the value of print. It takes an understanding of the world these marketers are already in. This means that, in order to sell print, the industry needs to become conversant about the worlds of mobile, social media, and online marketing.

You don’t have to offer these services as part of your core competency, but you should at least understand them enough to know the trends, consumer attitudes, and when they shine and where they don’t. Without understanding the dynamics of these media, it will be tough to gain the credibility necessary to help your customers understand how and why print should be part of that mix.

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10 thoughts on “How Will Digital Print Integrate with Intent-Based Marketing?

  1. Cory Sawatzki

    I think that in the end, as marketing professionals, we all need each other. I am curious to hear if the feeling is mutual from the intent based side.

  2. Jason Pinto

    Hi Heidi,
    Thank you for posting this article.

    I absolutely loved your point about how it “takes an understanding of the world these marketers are in already”.

    I look forward to seeing you at Dscoop as well.

    Talk to you later,

  3. Margie Dana

    Great piece, Heidi – thanks for writing it. It made me think of another reason why personalization in the “real world” (AKA print) vs online is effective: ego. If I get uberpersonalized content online, it’s seen by me and only me. If I get something in the mail or see it on a poster or in a brochure, it’s public. And permanent. Presuming the printed piece is done well, accurately, and tasteful, it’s a real boost! Think about high school seniors doing their college search. I’m guessing that personalized materials dropped into their real mail box are keepers…especially if they’re sent by their 1st choice schools.

  4. Heidi Tolliver-Nigro Post author

    Good point, Margie. I think of the Samaritan’s Purse direct mail I receive. Samaritan’s Purse provides relief for needy children around the world. On its DM, it has a QR code on the front with an arrow pointing to an image of a video of the children receiving the gifts. They are very powerful images, and not only are they seen by those person receiving the pieces but every person whose hands they touch. Great way to multiply your marketing investment!

    See everyone at DSCOOP! I’ll be in the Great Reach Communications booth.

  5. Jim David

    Great article Heidi! The key is first understanding. Everything else follows.

  6. Bill Strobridge

    Good article Heidi, And good point on the broader understanding required for multi channel marketing.
    I’m depending on you and perhaps others like you to continue my education on intent based marketing or micro targeting in the virtual world and how it impacts print based multi channel communications.
    The Samaritan’s purse piece is a great example, thanks.

  7. Jeff Stewart

    Good article Heidi. It makes me ask, Intent-Based Marketing… shouldn’t all marketing have an intent? We think so.

  8. Joe Manos

    Great post Heidi – well done!

    I agree with all of your points.

    The one complication in the entire process is the marketer themselves.

    They are attempting to harness all of the new media touches but in many cases without a comprehensive strategy and a complementary integrated approach. That approach makes it difficult to really access the best practices for improved results.

    They have the right idea but the overall execution is lacking. This will improve with ongoing education and coaching.

    What about their data…an entirely different issue.

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