Commercial printers are grappling with major forces of change across the industry. On one hand, innovations are making digital color printing more affordable and accessible, enhancing the value of print. On the other hand, businesses of all types are accelerating their investments in digital and social channels, following their customers and prospects.
What is a printer to do? Recognize these trends as a major opportunity for growth for those who expand their capabilities and tie together multiple channels for their customers.
Consider this new reality from the marketer’s point of view. Channels to keep up with consumers and keep the brand fresh are quickly changing. Mobile devices and social sites are crowding out consumer attention to individual company websites. Meanwhile, print remains a vital channel – and for many customers, the primary one for years to come -- and print must harmonize with the digital brand experience marketers want to create.
By making smart partnering decisions, commercial printers are in the best position to offer business customers the best of both physical and digital worlds.
The fragmented consumer
Consumers today are multitasking at every turn. As a result, successful content consolidation portals offer efficient access to the things that consumers value. Top examples include:
- Information: Google, Wikipedia and Twitter
- Shopping: Amazon, eBay
- Social Interaction: Facebook, Twitter and Google+
- Entertainment: YouTube, Pandora and Hulu
- Financial services: More than four-fifths of customers at major banks have access to online accounts
However, when it comes to building brand identity, challenges remain. Sites like Amazon leave little room for brand influence, and online banking portals bear the bank’s branding – it’s focused on bill pay, not on the consumer's interaction with the biller.
The outreaching brand
A new type of single consumer destination site is emerging as the physical world mixes with the digital world. Enter the digital mailbox, a new channel that will become an environment for brands to inform, transact with and market to customers.
To promote the brand, the digital mailbox concept allows marketers to interact with their customers directly in the digital mailbox environment. The brands can incorporate and manage logos, styles, personalized offers, one-on-one messaging, links to online account management, product cross-sells, and even offer their consumers options for bill pay. All this control allows businesses to maintain their brand personalities and ultimately strengthen ties between the business and its customers.
For printers, partnering with the right digital mailbox service will help capture your business customers’ attention, and keep you relevant in the digital conversation. As you evaluate these new consolidator sites, keep in mind of some of the key features that should be offered to make sure the experience will be a successful one – for the brand and the consumer. These could include:
- Branded encounters—Inbound mail of all types, as well as online bill pay and permission-based marketing; plus creative experiences that leverage the digital medium
- Targeted cross-sell—Analytics-based insights captured and used to drive right time, relevant messaging
- Customized content—Real, 1-to-1 focused communications that hone in on and addresses specific consumer needs and concerns
- Increased self-service—Opportunities to get answers and complete transactions more easily and efficiently, 24/7
- Links to web/social media—Ways to easily move between different media and destination sites
Your business customers need an elegant solution to the challenge of reaching consumers across both physical and digital platforms. Partnering with a leading digital mailbox provider is a crucial step in building that solution. You can give your customers tools that will bolster a brand’s identity and integrity, while serving the needs of the business across physical and digital channels. You can change the game in favor of marketers who want to be where their customers can find convenient, comprehensive service across any channel.