There is an old joke about printers never having any business cards or brochures for their own companies. If a printer is going after marketing related print and not using today’s marketing tools, the joke is going to be on them. Business communication has changed and printers must demonstrate that they understand the change.
Print no longer stands alone as the only way to communicate with customers, clients, and prospects. It may seem that print competes with email broadcasts, websites, mobile marketing, and social media, but the most successful marketing strategies integrate print with the new communication tools. Print is still an important factor that can get a message out to a broad audience efficiently and economically, and make the new communication tools stronger.
Printers need to educate their customers to print’s role in the new communication process. They can do this by integrating print and electronic tools to broadcast their own message. How a printer communicates with his customers and prospects will be important as a way to create the image of a print company that is an expert in communications. Printers should be using the same marketing tools and techniques that they are trying to sell their customers.
The first thing printers need to review are their websites. Is yours just a static site that presents an address, telephone number, and lists of what can be produced and what equipment is used? Or is it a dynamic site where customers can order printed products and interact with the company? Is there information on the site that makes the customers want to visit the site? Is it updated on a regular basis? Do smartphone users get directed to a mobile site when they search on their phones? Your website will say a lot about how much you understand integrated print marketing.
Printers will want to look at the sites their customers have. The sophistication of a customer’s website will provide some insight into their marketing skills using new communication tools. Your website should be more impressive than your top customers’ to show that you understand the role of websites and electronic media in the communication process. Customers with the more sophisticated sites will be more apt to understand the need to integrate print into the mix.
Printers must be able to point to examples of how they are using the new tools in their marketing message. Does your print collateral include URL addresses, email addresses, and QR codes to push customers to important Web-based information? Is there print collateral that supports the website, so when someone does ask for information there is printed material to send to them? These examples will help customers understand why print is important to websites. The simple Web page request to “Contact us for more information” provides printers with a selling opportunity. If a person requests more information, a company will usually send printed material.
Print Goes Mobile
Mobile marketing, email broadcasts, and social media are proving themselves to be good ways to inexpensively reach out to customers. For the message to be more effective, print collateral is needed to support the electronic efforts. Direct mail is one of the most effective ways to drive customers to mobile marketing sites. Email messages won’t get to all customers and prospects, so printed material needs to be available to support the email campaigns. Social media creates interest in a company or product, but some follow up will require print collateral to better explain the product or service.
Marketing-related print support is one of the few bright spots in the print industry, especially for quick and small commercial printers. If a printer is marketing his own company using the new tools, then it will be much easier to attract the right clientele to grow that aspect of his business in the future. Printers need to show they understand marketing communication is more than just putting ink on paper.