No matter how you dress it up, a printer is a printer. Most printers would say that it is their price and customer service that will set them apart. If everyone has the same recipe for setting themselves apart, how much difference is there?
Becoming a marketing services provider takes some time, and there are some non-negotiable steps along the way to make the transformation complete. First, it is necessary for the online presence of the printer to be inviting, friendly, easy to use, interactive, and functional. The ability for your customers to order online is an important facet of the printer’s transformation. Customers should be able to upload mailing lists using the printer as an email service provider. They should also be able to access and download information to be distributed or printed in small quantities.
But having an online store does not automatically make you a marketing services provider. The printer has to examine cross-media marketing. As I state in the book, cross-media marketing is, “a form of cross-promotion in which promotional companies commit to surpassing the traditional advertisements and decide to include extra appeals for their offered products. The material can be communicated by any type of mass media such as e-mails, letters, web pages, or other recruiting sources.”
So you have become cross-promotional and web-friendly. Now you need to execute some campaigns. You are looking to drive traffic to a retail store, whether that store is brick and mortar or digital, and increase sales. There are steps that can be taken to ensure a successful campaign. Create postcards with personalized URL’s or QR codes to attract the attention of potential customers. 80% of all printed material ends up in the mail, and who knows how much of that immediately ends up in the trash. So personalizing gives your efforts a much higher chance to be received than a standardized mailer. Once the recipient accesses the URL, have them confirm some information to expand and provide accuracy to your database. Then drive them to either take a survey or claim their special offer that you advertised on the mailer. After a couple weeks, follow up with non-responders. When customers do come into the store in response to a direct marketing campaign, track that information to measure the effectiveness. If it’s not effective, go back to the drawing board. This should hopefully all lead to increased profits, data on marketing campaign strategies, and customer contact information. All of this lends itself to one of the most important ideas in marketing: return on investment (ROI).
Data is everything. Make sure you aggregate a solid database to help you in your marketing efforts. The best database is one you create yourself. The most relevant information to your business is only known by your business. A list provider can only be so specific to your target audience.
One more big aspect of this chapter is about making print interactive. I mentioned QR codes earlier; they are the best way to integrate new media into your printed efforts. They are two-dimensional barcodes that can be scanned by a smartphone, such as an iPhone or Android. Once scanned, they bring the user to a mobile website or landing page, creating an interactive experience for the customer. This mobile page will be stored in the phone for additional access later on, which means the proper information that you want read will be in the palm of the target audience’s hand.
The groundwork is being laid for the printer to become a full-fledged marketing services provider. In the next installment, we will talk about getting down to fundamentals to really complete the transformation.