That social media and mobile technology have converged goes without saying. Mobile web use increased 82 percent from July 2011 to July 2012, according to Nielsen’s State of the Media: Social Media Report 2012, and app usage time more than doubled during that 12-month period. (Of course, many people connect to social media through an app.) By using multichannel marketing, creating highly-sharable content, and designing for easier viewing on smaller screens, print firm marketers can target audiences and stay on the cutting edge of technology.
Seventy percent of surveyed marketers reported increasing their mobile marketing budgets because the channel is either presently producing or is expected to produce positive ROI, the Marketing Sherpa 2012 Mobile Marketing Benchmark Report revealed. Another 61 percent said that mobile marketing is expected to be a significant aspect of future success. Mobile marketing is in the six-month plans of a majority of marketers, and 53 percent of those surveyed reported mobile taking 30 percent or more of the 2013 budget. Despite these statistical findings, however, more than half (55 percent) of them do not have an effective mobile strategy in place.
The inter-relationship between the print and mobile mediums is clear. InfoTrends has reported that printed mobile codes (e.g., QR codes, data matrices, Microsoft Tags), which can be scanned with smartphones to display additional content, have seen rapid adoption as well. Its Mobile Technology: Making Print Interactive study found that 20 percent of marketers said that the ability to connect to social media was an effective way to prompt interaction with mobile codes. In a print twist, 24 percent considered coupons or discounts to be very effective in prompting consumers to interact with mobile codes.
“As mobile technology is now a focal point of consumers’ lives, marketers are seeking tools, technologies, and strategies that will help them drive revenue for their companies,” said Kaspar Roos, associate director for InfoTrends’ Production Workflow & Custom Communications Solutions Services. “Personalized URLS, QR codes, augmented reality, and physical extensions are all examples of ‘print plus,’ which adds interactivity to traditional print channels. This makes it a more effective medium for communications. Mobile is only going to become more important to consumers over time, so it is important to stay connected to the emerging technologies that are making print more interactive.”
For several years, companies’ direct mail pieces have pointed end users to branded websites and social media accounts. But Debra Ellis of multichannel consultancy Wilson & Ellis encourages marketers, including print firms, to flip the script. Direct mail printers can use Facebook and Twitter to help customers build online awareness and excitement about pending campaigns.
Here’s a strategy to pass on to clients: “Instruct the people in your community to sign up to receive your mailer, then count down the days until that piece is in the mail,” Ellis advised readers of the USPS’s Deliver marketing magazine. Ellis scoffed at the notion that modern marketing is all about the conversation. She urges clients to build social media communities with the goal of selling, not simply trying to be the customer’s friend. “The only thing that motivates the customer is a need or a perceived need,” she said. (Read about print firms who track and get sales from their social media efforts: “Sign Shops Log On”)
“At least once a day, throw in a comment about your direct mail pieces,” urged Ellis. “You could even go to the point of creating a YouTube video of the products presented in your direct mail piece so people get an interest.”
Photo and Video Sharing
Facebook turns nine years old in 2013 and went public 10 months ago. The massive online social network now boasts between 700 million and one billion global users, depending on the research statistics used, up from 500 million three years ago and one million in 2004. Its popularity and trove of personal data have attracted many companies to the site to create so-called fan pages where they can promote products for free. These pages also enable the firms to send offers, coupons, and event reminders to users who have become fans.