For print service providers, marketing is an ongoing and swiftly evolving challenge. Their marketing concerns relate to not only what they are marketing, but how they are marketing. And as we’ll see, the products they offer to help others market their wares can often be used to market to their own customers. Here are a few of the hot-button marketing issues print providers are tackling.
Building better marketing communications with today’s customers calls for blended campaigns, says Jeffrey Hayzlett, CEO of Sioux Falls, SD-based The Hayzlett Group. To reach customers, PSPs need to use the channels those customers are utilizing, and that requires using more than one channel, he says.
“Just call me, just email me, just use direct mail, that doesn’t work for all people,” he reports. “You have to use a combination of channels to get results.”
While he regards print as the most trusted channel, he admits people under the age of 35 are not as accustomed to print as older folks.
“We have to reintroduce print to that lost generation,” Hayzlett says. “And a customized, versionized, and personalized approach will work even with the unaccustomed.”
The blended approach will become more important as marketers have more channels, he adds. What he calls the “800-pound gorilla” of the future is mobile, the most personalized communication medium in existence. “We know where our phone is more than we know where our children are,” he adds. “It’s part of the blended campaign, but the most important channel going forward.”
to marketing services
Another marketing trend impacting print providers is the decision of many PSPs to broaden their offerings from print into marketing services.
So says Carl Joachim, Senior Partner in the packaging practice with Caslon and Co., who also serves as a Graphic Communication Institute associate with California Polytechnic State University.
“Printers and print service providers are seeing a decline in virtually every type of print, and have to find new solutions and new applications,” he says. “This idea of a print service provider transitioning into a marketing services provider has been around for a few years and is evolving rapidly.”
A few years ago, the conversation with a client would not have gone much further than how many prints were needed. “But the same commercial printer today would ask very different questions,” Joachim says. “What is the document being used for? If it’s being used in the sale of goods or services, should we personalize the document? Can we maintain a database so communications of the future can be easily recreated? Can we post it on a website and create a landing page? Can we ensure it is viewable on a mobile device?
“It’s a key trend, and today the technology is easy enough to use that it’s had a high level of adoption. The savviest PSPs are marketing this capability.”
Dimensional direct mail
Dimensional direct mail has a much higher chance of being opened and viewed than conventional flat mail. The response rate to dimensional direct mail is also much higher. “You can personalize that brightly colored package, include a personalized URL so the recipient can visit the landing page, add a QR code and utilize augmented reality,” Joachim says. “You have a way to communicate with the intended target in a way that’s going to spur much more attention.”
How best to market this capability? Why, with dimensional direct mail, of course. “I know some PSPs are doing this with great results,” he says. “Printers can use dimensional direct mail to target their own customers and prospective customers and tell them about their dimensional direct mail capabilities.”
There is one area where print is always going to be needed, and that is in packaging, a topic we focus upon in another PRINT 13 Show Daily article. So it’s no surprise to see more and more PSPs marketing their packaging services.
Not only is package printing not declining, but this sector of print offers exceptional growth potential, Joachim says. The advent of “SKU proliferation” means that more labels, folding cartons, corrugated, and flexible packaging will need to be printed, which can only benefit those PSPs marketing this service.
As for the potential, it is enormous. With digital accounting for just 5-7% of labeling, 1% of flexible carton packaging, and less than 1% in flexible packaging, “the potential is huge,” Joachim says.