Savvy print providers are looking to expand their services beyond printing. As they do, many are viewing cross-media marketing as one key growth area. In cross-media marketing, print is augmented and enhanced by other media, such as social media, QR codes, augmented reality, and others to garner optimal results in marketing campaigns. The best campaign efforts are those that mix an array of media, but allow for accurate quantification of results.
We tracked down some of the most skilled practitioners of this emerging art form and talked to them about the type of media they favor, how they sell clients on cross-media campaigns, and why and how they track and report results to their customers. Best of all, we asked them to discuss their top cross-media marketing campaigns, and explain what made the campaigns work.
There may be no one better at cross-media marketing than Little Rock’s CustomXM, which topped the Cross Media Marketing category at the 2012 NAQP Print Excellence Awards. CustomXM, which began in 1966 as a traditional offset printing company, is today a direct marketing services firm that also provides print services, says president Paul Strack.
The company got into cross-media marketing around 2005 with variable data printing and PURL campaigns. “With the continued advancement in digital printing, we saw the opportunity to, in one print run, deliver multiple messages to an audience without having to change the print stream,” Strack says. “In addition, we could deliver more relevant images and messages. That was our pitch at the time: connect with your audience with a more relevant message.”
Over time, CustomXM has improved the way it handles cross-media marketing. “Today, it’s not enough to put their name in bold print; people have become used to the customized piece,” Strack says. “You have to know something about each of your customers before you can talk to them with customized messages. Now we’re using variable cross-media to gather that information and learn about our clients’ customers. Once we learn about them, we can come back with more customized and relevant messages.”
Lakewood, CO-based Raven Printing is another business getting attention through the use of cross-media marketing. The company launched what owner Tim Ballinger calls “a full-blown marketing company” called R5 Design and Marketing at the start of this year.
“We do a lot under that umbrella, including building desktop websites, mobile websites, branding identity, email marketing with our own email marketing platform, and PURLs,” he says, noting R5 serves healthcare providers, country clubs, higher education entities, and small to medium-sized companies.
“When we talk to customers about the true cross-media campaign, we talk about creating noise in the market,” Ballinger says. “Printing and mailing have been the same for a long time, but we talk about incorporating technology into the mailing process. To do that, you must have a real good database. We coach [clients] not to expect massive results in a cross-media campaign if you’re not pulling from your internal database. The most important consideration in a successful campaign is your data.”
Because many clients and prospects aren’t familiar with cross-media marketing, presenting an effective sales message takes some planning and finesse. When CustomXM was just beginning to initiate cross-media marketing campaigns, one sales technique rarely failed to wow Strack’s audiences of clients and prospective clients. He would walk into a meeting and hand each person attending the meeting a notepad with his or her name on it. “You appeal to people’s egos that way,” he says.
Today, Strack and colleagues hold what he calls “lunch-and-learn” meetings. “We invite clients and prospects in for quarterly lunch-and-learns at the local chamber of commerce, and we talk to them about the new technology available,” he says. “We use a cross-media campaign to invite people to these meetings. It involves direct mail, email, social media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and some phone calls. And it includes PURLs as well.”