Let’s say a coffee machine manufacturer hires your agency to market its new line of high-end coffee machines. As the marketing manager, you are given the goal of generating 5,000 leads in the next quarter and receive their prospect base data to help you get started.
When you get the first brief, you know that you want to run a personalised, integrated campaign. You’ve been managing campaigns for a while, and you know that single channel campaigns aren’t successful because most people don’t act at the first touchpoint. You know that however intriguing your communication is, the simple fact is that most people are too busy focusing on their daily tasks to be diverted by just the one approach.
To properly grab their attention and give you a higher chance of getting the leads, you’ll need multiple approaches across different channels and over time; it’s the long game approach that pays off.
Another thing you already know is that this type of strategic omnichannel campaigning is one of the best ways to build stronger customer-brand relationships over time and improve ROI. For the customer during an omnichannel campaign, each interaction is a seamless extension of their previous communication, no matter which channel they are on now or which channel they just left. Their context and history will continue to the next channel with them. The channel itself isn’t relevant anymore. What’s important for the customer? Receiving the best experience.
So, you know you’ll want to design a data-driven omnichannel campaign to help your client sell its coffee machines. But when it comes to setting out the campaign flow and deciding which channels to include, where does print fit into this scenario?
Print and Omnichannel
Print is often overlooked, and marketers tend to go with only digital touchpoints, because they believe it to be cheaper, more accessible and quicker to deploy. But there are numerous benefits to using print as a touchpoint in an omnichannel campaign.
Print combines relevancy, compelling creative and staying power. It is a permanent and tangible item with keepsake value that projects a sense of high-value and trust and evokes a physical interaction; it can be touched, carried, and endures even when the internet network is down. Unlike digital touchpoints, a single print touchpoint can engage audiences over time rather than in fleeting moments, and blends maximum individualised relevancy with compelling creative design and quality.
These qualities aren’t surprising to marketers. The problem is that although they know that print can be compelling, in general marketers don’t think that print can actually be added to an integrated omnichannel campaign. They think it needs to be added as a separate touchpoint unconnected to the rest of the customer journey and they don’t consider how to improve their campaign results by using print effectively and adding print as a potent trigger for the other touchpoints.
Instead, they might only add a snazzy print piece to wow the recipient like an embellished oversized door hanger or a direct mail piece. A bit like an elephant dancing on the table, it might look incredible. It might even look like part of the campaign, with similar branding and messaging, but if the print piece isn’t properly integrated with the rest of the campaign flow, it isn’t being used to its full potential.
The truth is that digital technology has been quietly revolutionising the print industry for years so now print can tie into your overall marketing strategy in much the same way that a digital touchpoint can.
Think of print as the bridge to the digital world. As digital printing technology advances, capabilities like QR codes, Near Field Communication (NFC) and Augmented Reality (AR) are opening up new opportunities for marketers to make print interactive and coexist cohesively with digital initiatives.
Bridge Print and Digital
If you’re looking to produce an effective and cool campaign, you shouldn’t ignore print.
Let’s go back to our coffee machine example. The first touchpoint can be a beautifully embellished printed brochure setting out all the benefits of the coffee machine. A good idea would be to include incentives such as an offer for a free packet of coffee beans and electric milk frother with their purchase. To get the offer, the recipient must visit the website via a QR code displayed on the brochure.
After they have purchased the machine online, they will receive a triggered PDF coupon via email that can be printed or saved on their phone and redeemed at their leisure. Once redeemed they will also receive a personalised catalog (generated on-demand) in the post with a 30% discount for a new packet of coffee beans or a refer-your-friend offer whereby both will receive even more coupons and so the campaign can continue, and conversation can build into a lasting brand relationship.
This kind of campaign is possible, not only because marketers can use digitally-led print techniques, but also because the technology spans across the different departments that are creating the campaign – everyone can collaborate together more efficiently, which makes creating the campaign a seamless process.
When you sit down with your client at the planning stage you would, of course, need to help your client to understand that although adding print to the campaign might be slower to deploy and more expensive at first, the return on that investment will be much higher. You’ll need to be armed with examples and evidence for why print is a strategic advantage for brands.
Consumers are saturated with digital messaging, so don’t forget the value of print as you select your channels and craft your omnichannel customer journeys with care and purpose. Savvy marketers recognise this value and continue to invest in Print by adding digitally-led print touchpoints.