How Technology Makes Print Even More Powerful (as seen in PS Magazine)
The concepts of leveraging the latest technology and the importance of data to achieve success are not new. This is one of the biggest myths affecting our industry causing some to shift their entire business models to keep pace. In fact our industry is based upon one of the world’s most disruptive technologies, printing. And the point of printing something is communication. It is very concerning to see companies view the current trends and capabilities today’s technology provides as reducing potential.
Yes, it’s impossible to deny the growing shift of our society to digitally consumed content and that can be a scary idea for a lot of printing companies. However, as new and faster methods of communication are developed, our opportunities are only expanding with the potential for reaching an exponentially greater audience.
It’s All About Communication
Communication is diverse; and even more so the methods used to consume that communication. Communicating through an integrated strategy is increasingly important to create real results. The essence of an effective integrated model is that it connects your message with your audience through the channels they use. Great Integrated Communication models effectively leverage print and technology.
Markets today become saturated quickly requiring that businesses find ways to stand out from their competitors. Combining print and technology is a great way to differentiate from the competition and get your brand noticed by potential customers. Technologies like email, PPC, mobile ads, social ads, and more are cost effective and drive visibility in the digital world with potentially high ROI. However, companies that rely solely on digital forms of communication see a drastic drop in volume. Print Marketing is often considered costly with a lower ROI, but the power of print is in its ability to drive volume. The conversion rates of print marketing are very good, averaging 3.7% in 2015 (2015 DMA Response Rate Report). This is actually an increase compared to 2012-2014. By combining the ROI strength of digital marketing with the volume driving power of print, companies are able to sustain a competitive advantage over their competitors.
Another way to integrate print and technology is by placing technology on actual printed pieces. Technology allows us to incorporate interactive print into business cards, from basic QR codes up to near field communication and image recognition. These technologies get people to really think about the product, not just glance at it and stick it in their wallet or the trashcan.
However, technology is not just limited to things like business cards. Technology should transform the way we do business. With direct mail or really any printed piece, we can add interactive print technologies like image recognition, near field communication or even augmented reality. The result? Creating a piece of printed content that provides a truly interactive experience that leads to real engagement with your brand. And that’s game changing!
Let’s Get Practical
All this sounds great, but where the rubber really meets the road is with how we are able to implement data. Data is not a list of SIC codes and is also not just for technology applications. Data drives lead generation efforts, enables effective communication and validates your marketing efforts. On the front-end data drives effective, targeted, and personalized communication. With big data comes the ability to not just identify a target client, but also predict which prospect is most likely to purchase. This allows us to refine our marketing spend.
On the back end, data analytics help marketers show real ROI and further refine the target audience so marketing campaigns have the best possible impact. As business technologies become more advanced, marketers are being held to increasingly higher performance standards. However, most marketers struggle to show true ROI on marketing campaigns. Analytics allows us to look at exactly what’s working, what’s not working, and who is most responsive so that we can better allocate our resources to reach that ideal customer.
Organizations that use well-established metrics to measure their performance are at least 3x more likely to hit their goals than other marketing organizations (thinkwithgoogle.com). By using analytical technology, we can even identify how customers become engaged with us, and which channels they interact with most. Then we can incorporate the print and technology communication in the right mix, to the right target audience.
Despite how powerful and helpful analytical software is, according to Google Analytics, only 26% of marketers believe their marketing analytics tools are well-integrated and work seamlessly together. That means 74% of marketers aren’t effectively using analytics to improve their performance!
Adapting and being proactive in the use of technology and data in both marketing and business processes is a must. Combining the volume power of print with the ROI of technology is an extremely powerful strategy, and using data to define the best possible audience only improves on that power. New technology and big data applications shouldn’t scare companies, but actually empower them to create an integrated communication strategy that is even more powerful than print could be on its own.