Championing print’s power in brand awareness.
Most organisations have one aim – to grow their company into a successful business. Marketing the brand is key to this, and with the evolution of digital technology in the past decade, the choice of marketing channels has grown exponentially. In the highly competitive area of retail marketing, brand owners, creative agencies and Print Service Providers (PSPs) are increasingly having to justify brand investments by proving the value of different marketing formats. When it comes to the marketing budget, brands rightly want to make the most of every cent they spend.
Many organisations today look increasingly to online channels to grab the attention of their current and prospective customers, attracted by the analytics which can be used to calculate ROI. What some brand owners may not realise is that contemporary campaign management tools can also effectively measure the impact of print, such as response rates to direct mail and printed marketing collateral. Print remains the backbone of any brand campaign, playing a critical role at every stage of the customer journey, from initial brand awareness, to first purchase, to nurturing long-term brand loyalty.
Agile digital communications
For brand owners, the appeal of digital marketing is its ability to adapt quickly to changing situations. Today, in contrast to the long lead times of analogue print, digital production technologies give print the same advantage, enabling PSPs to react quickly to tactical promotions or campaign adjustments, and offering the brand owner the capability to adapt and personalise their print marketing collateral and produce selective amounts for short-term and highly targeted campaigns.
The key benefit of today’s on-demand promotional communications is agility to respond to campaign data. Using the latest digital print technology, a brand is able to use data to tailor communications, fine-tuning campaign messages to achieve maximum effectiveness when targeting potential customers, and small adjustments in targeting can be made relatively quickly and simply as the campaign evolves.
No channel works optimally in isolation; it’s the blend of several channels using a combination of print and digital that makes a brand campaign a success. Planning a marketing campaign for any product starts with mapping the customer journey. From the initial stages of capturing the customer’s attention, print advertising and direct mail can be designed to drive consumers online, where they can discover more information about a product before they make their purchase decision.
These printed marketing tools can also be effective at encouraging consumers to go instore, particularly for experiential events or special in-store promotions.
By getting into the minds of customers, PSPs and in-house print departments can help brand owners and marketeers use print in tandem with digital communications in the most appropriate way for their business.
Cutting through with promotional print
Print is welcomed by consumers in an environment where digital marketing is increasingly interruptive and intrusive. With digital communications, it’s so easy for consumers to set up email inbox filters to move unwanted marketing messages into ‘junk’ or ‘clutter’, or to automatically click the ‘delete’ button. In a progressively digital world, 70% of people agree that physical mail actually gives a better impression of the company that sent it than email. With the average person estimated to see thousands of marketing messages each day, it’s vital that brands cut through the clutter and make their communications stand out.
As part of wider omnichannel campaigns, sending a customer a highly targeted, personalised direct mail is a powerful way to gain their attention and raise awareness of a brand. What might come as a surprise to brand owners is that customers actually like receiving direct mail; 48% of people regard it as a good way for brands to connect with them. 
Another effective way of reaching customers is through transactional communications, such as invoices and statements. Brands can take advantage of these functional documents to cross-sell and up-sell by combining invoice data with promotional messages. It’s interesting to note that while the average recipient spends some 15 seconds looking at direct mail, they spend nearly three times that with a transactional marketing document.
Print’s true USP over digital communication is its visual and tactile impact. There is a special emotional pull when we receive a personalised piece of mail. It allows brands to be creative with their marketing and messages, including more complex designs and imagery, as well as more striking photography. Any variation in size away from the traditional format will get immediate attention. A longer postcard or a gatefold mailer, for example, provides a greater degree of differentiation and adds impact, with larger space for promotional messaging and the option to include product samples within the gatefold. Add a tear-off coupon with a valuable offer and it will increase the chances of the customer completing their purchase.
With the capability to create direct mail in surprising sizes, shapes, colours and textures, brands have new scope to engage and delight the recipient and encourage them further along the sales cycle.
And while proving ROI is a critical consideration for any marketer, it should definitely not be a barrier to using print. On the contrary, research indicates that including mail in the marketing mix creates real brand value as it increases ROI by 12%.
Grabbing customers’ attention out of home
Print’s role in building awareness is not confined to the home. Another example of print’s unique role in raising brand awareness is outdoor displays. Print accompanies consumers along their journey to purchase at every stage. The outdoor poster has been around since the dawn of advertising but has lost none of its power to influence and prompt a consumer to take action.
Outdoor advertising continues to be one of marketing’s success stories; 83% of people recall seeing Out of Home (OOH) advertising within the last 30 minutes before shopping.  With 98% of people seeing an outdoor ad every week, it’s an effective print application as it’s not something that can be ignored, avoided or blocked. Most of us positively welcome the engagement provided by OOH advertising, such as on public transport.
But outdoor marketing is no longer just a case of just pasting banners, posters and other promotional graphics. Greater sophistication in targeting, planning and analysis means that businesses have a larger and smarter suite of marketing tools as their disposal. Geo-targeting, data-based analysis and specialist audience measurement techniques enable outdoor marketing campaigns to be finely turned and adjusted to suit specific locations and promotions.
Campaigns can use devices such as promo codes and scannable QR codes to monitor the effectiveness of OOH displays in generating response and even gather location-specific data. On the London Underground transport system, for example, promotional posters have a special discount code such as ‘TUBE’ so that brands can track ROI from that specific marketing tool, even connecting the response to a particular underground train line.
The value of print
Every brand should acknowledge and understand the role and value of print in wider brand marketing campaigns alongside digital platforms. Science has even shown that paper can be more impactful and memorable than digital.
Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media, suggesting that it is both easier to understand and more memorable.
As a PSP, talking to brand owners and marketing managers at the beginning stages of any marketing campaign can help you to see where you can offer a variety of applications that they may have not considered and show them how these applications can integrate with digital activity or drive footfall to stores and events. Many marketeers are not aware of all the possibilities with digital print and it’s an opportunity for PSPs to show them what is achievable.
As a PSP, you can now offer a wider portfolio of digitally printed material than ever before in the promotional journey to raise initial awareness of a brand – from postcards to customised mailings to wayfinding and backlit signage. Collaborating with your client from the very start will ensure you are aligned on the campaign’s objectives, and allow you to showcase your whole portfolio of applications.
It’s never been easier to prove the calculable value of print in complex marketing campaigns that take advantage of all available channels to engage the consumer. PSPs can now offer brands complete end-to-end solutions, devising and producing measurable marketing collateral that can power a brand from a standing start to a global bestseller.
How Canon is helping brands tell a more compelling story
More brands than ever are competing for shoppers’ attention – and advertisers are looking to Print Service Providers (PSPs) like you to help them cut through. To show what print can do in integrated brand campaigns today, Canon collaborated with designer, photographer and filmmaker Clive Booth to create a stunning array of promotional materials for the launch of fictitious beauty brand, Elemental. This collaboration helps PSPs and their brand owner and agency clients to envisage how easy it is to integrate different printed applications to create a cohesive multi-channel campaign – resulting in one compelling brand story.