Bridging the Print and Web Divide

The world is abuzz with the concept of utilizing cross media marketing as a tool for businesses to create and grow profitable businesses. While this isn’t exactly news for technology and communication-based industries, print service providers are finding that it is becoming increasingly vital to add to their menu of value added services.

Integrating Multiple Channels with Print

At first it might seem difficult or impossible for cross marketing to be integrated with wide-format imaging. Our experts show how it can be done effectively and with flair.

Larry Zusman, Director of Video Personalization at XMpie, stresses the importance of adding value to wide-format imaging by linking it to other channels of communication.

“The goal of cross media marketing is to extend the conversation and to add value in each media and communication vehicle they are working,” says Zusman. “The way you extend media in print is to use online and offline media. There’s a lot of work being done on wide-format now for signage.”

Zusman discusses the way in which some wide-format PSPs are encouraging people to go one step further when it comes to learning about their companies or clients. Zusman gives an example of a large piece of signage that might be used in a museum as an advertisement for a particular show or event. Instead of simply presenting the pertinent information, a company will add a Quick Response Code to the poster to link the signage to drive more traffic to a website. A QR code is a type of barcode that can be placed on anything that is printed and can be scanned by any virtual device to direct the consumer to a website to gain more information about a product or service.

XMpie takes using QR codes to a new level. The company has a system that allows QR codes to be added to personalized online video supported by any mobile device. Personalized online video is becoming increasingly popular in the business arena, giving the client the ability to personalize each video and direct it to a specific client rather than producing one single video that may well ignored by many as being a generic sales tool.

Donna Vieira, Vice President of Marketing at interlinkONE, says, “We do not live in a world of singular communication. No one medium exists independently from the rest. At interlinkONE, we employ a wide variety of marketing strategies. We are active on social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram among others, which is a great way to keep in touch with our base.

“Additionally, we are big fans of content marketing,” Vieira adds. “Blogs, articles, media outreach, white papers, webinars - whatever we can create for our audience. This is a great way to keep our prospects and fans entertained and educated. We do a good amount of mailing and emailing, as well. We want our message delivered right in front of our prospects. Mail and email are still the best ways to do that.”

Margie Dana, Founder of Print Buyers International, uses mostly online content for her business.

“These days most of my marketing is online – but my business is different from PSPs. Here’s what I use: weekly email newsletter (since ’99), multiple daily posts to Twitter, participation in a few strategic LinkedIn groups, regular posts on my corporate FB page, [and] public speaking whenever I can.”

Additionally, Dana has written three books which sell from her website and has recently conducted a new market research project, which is based on a survey of professional print buyers.

Benefits of Cross Media for the PSP

Zusman believes that many people aren’t utilizing cross media marketing simply because a lot of people don’t know the benefits. One of the main reasons to use cross media is to increase the response rate, which is often relatively low with traditional print campaigns. Zusman points out the benefit of using personalized video over traditional print.

“Traditional variable data usually offers a 20-30% return while invariable data is about 15-20%,” says Zusman. “In personalized video the response can be 70-80%. It is usually over 50%.”

Additionally, online and electronic media is much easier to track than traditional print through email, landing pages and social media programs such as Facebook and Twitter.

Dana points out what works for her business. “I do so to take smart advantage of the channels available to me – which I THINK will be used by my target market. It would be foolhardy not to take advantage of these channels. I use multiple channels daily to keep my name “out there” and hopefully build my professional reputation. I want to be thought of as the “go to” expert on all things print buying.”

Vieira makes a good point when it comes to knowing one’s audience and tailoring the use of cross media to appeal to the right people.

“In terms of finding what suits you, whether you are a PSP or otherwise, it’s all about a diversified strategy,” says Vieira. “For mail, you want to achieve the ultimate goal; the kitchen table effect. You want that direct mailer to land on the kitchen table for all to see. It has to have legs, though. It’s crucial to incorporate a link to a landing page for them to get a gift of some sort like a white paper, ebook, or contest entry. On the landing page, you’d capture their information and they’d get whatever that ‘gift’ is. From there, you’ll have their email and you can communicate with them in multiple ways.”

Zusman expresses the importance of knowing what a client wants and needs.

“It’s about the fact that the end customer is never interested in one type of media for communications. What they are looking for are multi-channels so they become a very powerful implementation firm for these clients.”

Zusman says in order for PSPs to survive in increasingly difficult times, cross media marketing is a key element to elevating their companies to the top of the pyramid. When it comes to using multiple channel communications, it is the labor, not the printed product that will offer the most profit.

Zusman reiterates that cross media marketing is all about extending the conversation with clients and encouraging them to take advantage of value added services.

Zusman says, “The only natural thing for the printer to do is to walk into that shop and tell the customer that they have now added cross media marketing and can offer more than just printed media. They can offer full service conversation.”

Moving Forward

For those that may be confused about where to begin, Zusman offers advice on taking the first steps in the process:

“The most natural thing to go with initially is to go with email, landing pages, and websites. That’s the natural first step. The best thing to do if you haven’t done that is to build a storefront. A storefront drives personal print and personalized emails into full blown cross media.”

When it comes to trends, Zusman says, “Definitely one of the coolest things is offline to online content. It’s about bridging across between them. One of current trends in print will become a way to drive online media.”

As the industry progresses, Zusman believes more people will move to using the cloud to connect to others and to provide a more efficient work environment.

“When things move to the cloud more, there will be more capabilities available to more people in cross media. The cloud will allow you to collaborate across different environment.”

Dana’s view on trends leans toward the new generation of print buyers.

“I’m paying close attention to the next generation of businesspeople,” says Dana. “I think of Generation C (as in Connected). This generation does things very differently. They’re always connected – so much more of the information about a company and what it can deliver MUST be moved online.”

Dana ends by saying, “I think the day will come when most customers will want to work with PSPs online. Period.”