Print and Digital: Don’t Replace—Integrate

Today’s marketing environment is loud. It’s busy. It can numb the senses. That’s why it is more important than ever to integrate both digital and print media. Digital and print media reinforce one another. The reinforcement helps you break through the clutter and be heard.

But be careful. Integration doesn’t mean interchangeable, as one new survey shows. Consumers still want a choice.

A new survey commissioned by Two Sides North America and conducted by Toluna reveals that U.S. consumers are unhappy with corporate initiatives forcing them into digital-only communication and eliminating paper-based options. Many of the questions related to bills and statements, but the results apply to marketing communications, too.

Consumers want to be able to choose whether to receive paper bills and statements, and they don’t want to have to pay extra to do it.  For example, 79% of respondents want the option to continue receiving printed information to provide a “more permanent” record, 77% would be unhappy if they were asked to pay a premium for paper bills and statements, and more than three-quarters (79%) felt that paper options were easier to read compared to screens.

There is also suspicion about the motives of companies forcing their customers to go paperless. Overwhelmingly (85%), consumers agreed that cost savings is the main reason companies use claims such as “Go Paperless—Go Green” or “Go Paperless—Save Trees.” More than half (57%) question the truthfulness of such claims.

So use digital and print-based communications wisely. Email makes sense when you need to touch base quickly, such as sending company news, alerting customers to a flash sale, or offering reminders. But don’t ask email to do more than it is designed to do. Give customers a choice, and use print where digital communications are not as strong.

For example, print remains critical for . . .

  • In-depth communications
  • Contacts that contain highly personal information
  • Mailings that involve brand trust

Studies also show that information is easier for people to understand and recall in print, so use print for “weightier” topics and messages that require attention to detail. If you want to move customers to digital communication, ask first. Don’t make the decision for them.

Does it cost more to send print? Yes, but creating the right match between the channel and the message will reap big benefits.

3 Steps to Making A Colorful Impact

Did you know that, according to CCI Inc., consumers make a subconscious judgment about people, their environment, or products within 90 seconds of viewing and that between 62% and 90% of their decision-making is based on color alone? A University of Loyola, Maryland study found that color increases brand recognition by up to 80%.

Color is power! According to the American Psychological Association, by hanging an extra “tag” of data on visual scenes, color helps people to process and store images more efficiently than black-and-white. As a result, color impresses images more deeply into people’s memories.

Consider the current trend toward retro packaging. Major brands, including Cheerios to Skippy, Doritos, and Tide, are throwing back to the 70’s, 60’s, and even the 40’s with styles and colors that are deeply familiar to consumers. By tapping into happy childhood memories, they are creating positive associations that help to sell products.

Another example of the power of color can be seen in the addition of green ketchup to the Heinz brand. According to Junk Food News, more than 10 million bottles of Heinz EZ Squirt Blastin’ Green ketchup were sold in the first seven months following its introduction. Heinz factories worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep up with demand. The new green ketchup has generated the highest sales increase in the brand’s history.

So, what can you do to tap into the power of color?

  1. Make color a priority. Really put thought into your choices. Make great choices in using color to draw out the desired emotion from your target audience.
  2. Use great graphics. It’s worth spending a little extra money on artwork, photographs, and design to really make your color pop.
  3. Manage your color carefully. Work with us to manage your color all the way through the process. This starts with submitting images in the right color space (CMYK rather than RGB), using established printing standards to set color profiles, and working with us to optimize your color for our color proofing system.

These basic steps will go a long way toward taking your color from ho, hum to WOW!

 

 

Adding Email Addresses = Better Results!

Did you know that you can greatly increase the results you get from your print marketing by adding email addresses to your marketing database? It’s true.

Clients who are willing to provide their email addresses tend to be more engaged with your company, more brand loyal, and more open to multiple marketing touches. When marketing to these people—regardless of channel—you are likely to get better results.

Having an email address also gives you the opportunity to send email teasers prior to the landing of a direct mail piece or to follow up to a direct mail campaign, nudging nonresponders into action.

How can you gather email addresses? Here are some ideas.

  • Just ask. Next time you talk to customers, ask if they are willing to provide an email address. You might be surprised how many addresses you can gather simply by asking.
  • Do a customer survey. Mailing surveys to get feedback on customers’ perceptions and experience with your company is always a good idea. When customers respond, ask them to update their contact information at the same time. That includes their email address.
  • Use incentives. Use your website to allow customers to enter to a sweepstakes or respond to a free offer. When they opt-in, ask them to provide their email address before they access the offer.
  • Add a form to your website. When people visit your site, make it easy for them to sign up for e-newsletters and other communications. Also make it easy to update their contact information, and, oh, by the way, their email address, too!

These are just some ideas. Talk to us about these and other techniques for building your email database and driving even better responses to your print marketing.

Tips and Tricks for Selecting Colors

Color sells. It increases brand recognition, improves comprehension, and can motivate purchase decisions between products. Color also identifies. The United Parcel Service, IBM, and Home Depot are all synonymous with specific colors. Some companies even trademark colors as brand assets. Think Tiffany’s robin’s egg blue.

A study by G.A Wright Marketing found that the use of high-quality paper and color applications can increase response rates by nearly 50%. For example, the study showed that a four-color promotional mailer printed on heavy gloss paper stock had a more than 40% higher response rate than an identical three-color version printed on a lighter matte paper stock.

Colors summon emotions and create connections with the people surrounding your brand. Warm colors such as red, orange, and yellow are associated with a range of emotions, from optimism and excitement to violence. Cool colors like green, violet, and blue can be calming and nurturing, but they can also be impersonal and antiseptic.

Choose colors that will elicit a positive response from recipients, then balance them in a visually appealing way. Using variations of a single color will create a visual effect that is classic and easy on the eyes, but not as vibrant as it could be. Enrich the scheme by introducing analogous colors, selecting three colors next to each other on the color wheel. Examples include red/orange/yellow; green/blue/purple; and yellow/yellow-green/green. Consistently use one shade as the dominant color.

For higher contrast, select a complementary color scheme, choosing colors across the wheel from each other. This works best when you place a warm color against a cool color, such as red and green, blue and orange, or purple and yellow. Any tint can be used. Midnight blue/tangerine and royal purple/gold are effective combinations.

Most any color mix can work as long as you retain harmony and richness in your presentation and avoid the hues used by your competitors.

Test combinations until you find the scheme that sends the message you want associated with your business. Your customers make split-second decisions based on color, so use it to your advantage.

Need help? Just ask!

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Marketers are naturally consistent, using the same logo and PMS colors in every piece, limiting the number of fonts to only a few and typing page numbers in the same place on every page. This consistency is important because it gives your work a sense of professionalism and authority while providing an underlying structure to every document.

The concept of repetition goes a step beyond consistency. It is a conscious effort to unify and strengthen your marketing collateral by tying together disparate parts.

Repetition is a powerful way to build brand familiarity and credibility. Studies show that you must repeat your message at least three times before it even registers with your prospect. Ongoing customer touches allow you to build trust, a necessary foundation of any purchasing decision. Repeat your call to action in every communication. Clearly explain to your target audience what you’re asking them to do and how to do it.

Readers gain comfort from having certain elements repeated. Readers more readily recognize specific columns or special sections of a newsletter if they look the same from issue to issue, allowing the reader to find what is of interest quickly. Make your piece more visually interesting by repeating a bold font, thick rule, graphic, special bullet or spatial relationship throughout your multi-page document.

Deliver your message in one way, and then reinforce it in another. Use repetition not only within a piece, but also between all pieces. Use the same design style on stationery, postcards, brochures, newsletters, packaging, advertisements and your Web site. This helps the person reading your brochure know that you are the same person who sent the postcard last month.

Repetition shouldn’t be boring. Once you have established a few key repetitive components, you can vary those items while maintaining a consistent look. Take a strong element, such as a shape, and present it in a variety of sizes, shades and positions. If there’s something that you want to call special attention to, toss in a surprise element, such as a different color, angle or graphic.

Repetition is a proven way to unify your design, add visual interest and bring clarity to your message. Identify existing repetitions and strengthen them, then create new ones to add a unique dimension to your marketing collateral.

 

 

What Is Your Print Project Wearing?

Once your print project comes off the press, it may not be finished—not yet. It might need that extra finishing touch. Let’s look at three reasons you might want to add a coating before your project goes “live” into the hands of your target audience.

  1. Protection. Sometimes a project needs that extra level of protection to keep it looking its best. Coatings can protect projects such as direct mail, marketing collateral, packaging, and catalogs from a wide variety of harsh environmental conditions, including:
  • Mailing equipment
  • Moisture
  • Dirt
  • Retail storage and display
  • Handling (including fingerprints)

If you need full waterproof properties, you may want to consider a laminate.

  1. Gloss. Shine adds sparkle and impact. It instantly conveys the impression of value and quality. When you print or mail a piece with a high-gloss coating, you are telling recipients, “You matter!” UV coating offers the hardest coated surface and the highest level of brilliance and sheen.
  2. Special effects. The number of options for specialty coatings is exploding. Spot varnish, for example, highlights specific areas of the printed piece for visual interest and impact. (Think lips popping out on a lipstick ad.) Soft touch creates a printed piece with a velvety finish. It produces a wonderful tactile feel and adds fingerprint resistance. Some specialty varnishes can be enhanced with effects such as glitter, tint, and scents. If you want to use a laminate, you can even get holographic effects.

Different finishes have different benefits and drawbacks. They also have different ranges of cost. Varnish is inexpensive and flexible, but tends to yellow over time. This can be problematic if your product has a long shelf life and large areas of white. Aqueous coating dries quickly and offers a high level of protection, but it has a higher cost. Specialty coatings offer a wide array of effects and visual and tactile appeal, but they may also carry a premium.

Different coatings “shine” for different types of projects and under different conditions. Talk to us about your coating options before finalizing your next printing project.

Survey: Top Takeaways for Print Use

Every year, Target Marketing conducts its Media Usage Survey. In this survey, the magazine asks how readers are allocating their budgets, which channels are increasing and decreasing, and which channels readers prefer for a variety of activities, including acquisition and retention.

While this survey is not projectable to marketers at large, it does give us critical insights into the larger trends. Let’s take a look at three trends you need to know.

  1. Marketing is multichannel.

One of the biggest takeaways from the survey is how multichannel marketing has become. When it comes to acquisition, for example, 83% of respondents are using email, 69% are using social media, 68% are using online advertising, and 58% are using direct mail. This reinforces both the importance of print and the need to incorporate a variety of channels to hit targets wherever they are.

  1. Print remains a critical channel.

The biggest growth is in digital channels like social media and mobile. However, print continues to hold its own—even grow—in its importance to companies’ overall marketing and branding efforts. According to the survey, Target Marketing readers plan to allocate 28.5% of their budgets to print this year. This includes spending on direct mail, magazines, newspapers, and circulars. This grows to 33.9% when you include space advertising like billboards and signage.

Direct mail, in particular, is on the rise. For acquisition, the percent of respondents using direct mail has risen from 54% to 58% between 2015 and 2016. For retention, the percentage using direct mail has risen from 51% to 55%.

  1. Print delivers strong ROI.

When asked which marketing method delivers the strongest ROI, direct mail was also strong. For acquisition, 16.3% of readers thought direct mail delivered the strongest ROI of all channels. For retention, 14.6% thought it was the strongest. In both cases, direct mail was second only to email in terms of perceived strength.