Much has been made of “hypertargeting” in recent years, which is defined as the ability to target your audience through self-selecting behavior and information volunteered on social media sites and through search. Online marketers claim this highly specific data leads to better outcomes than traditional direct mail marketing. But when you think about it, direct mail has been using this concept since its inception, and now employs increasingly sophisticated mailing lists to target the perfect customers.
Marketing campaigns have targeted their preferred demographics for years; in the modern age beginning with the use of radio and television shows to help define age group, sex and general interests. Granted, these lists were not very focused by today’s standards. Mass mailings used the spaghetti approach: throw the spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks. Marketers expected response rates to be low, and a lot of print pieces got thrown in the trash. A few leads and a sale or two were enough to justify the investment. But with today’s tighter budgets and more rigorous benchmarks for success, businesses have changed their way of thinking. Effectively, less is more these days.
Mailing lists are now comprised of surprisingly detailed information, including household information and shopping behavior sold by stores. Buying the right list can be difficult, though. Spending precious marketing dollars on the wrong list can result in a pretty poor outcome. Some questions to ask yourself and your list provider:
- Who am I targeting?
- Is the list made up of predictive data or customer-supplied data?
- Is the list made up of “clean data”? In other words, has it been scrubbed of deceased, unoccupied, moved households?
A well-targeted list does not discredit the need for dynamic, eye-catching print pieces with a strong call to action aimed at the selected group. At the end of the day, the strength of the creative, along with imaginative offers and integration with online marketing are the key elements to any successful direct mail marketing campaign, regardless of whose hands you put it in.
Here at BFS Daniels, we know how complicated ordering print materials can be when you’re running multiple marketing pieces across many locations. Making sure all stakeholders are using the brand in the same way can be a challenge. In response, we created a Web-to-Print Virtual Print Center, where clients could upload approved templates with some customizable fields so that remote offices could order the materials they need without sacrificing brand quality.
Now we’ve made it even easier to order all your print materials online. We’ve redesigned our Virtual Print Center into a truly centralize, intuitive print marketing dashboard that serves all your print marketing needs.
- Online branded catalog with more customization features
- First-rate digital library of approved images
- Ability to order single orders and ask for estimates
- Complete suite of Social Links
- Brand Standards Library with approved color palette and fonts
- Store Profiles that allows you to add and subtract products by storefront
- Tracking and Reporting of orders across the VPC
- Inventory on Demand
We’ll continue to expand our Virtual Print Center to improve economies of scale and flexibility to meet our clients’ increasingly sophisticated Web-to-Print demands. Experience our W2P Marketing Dashboard – request Demo today.
As Earth Day approaches, I’m sure we’ll see many articles and blog posts about how print isn’t green, that e-readers and online publications are more environmentally sustainable and ecologically responsible. Well, this simply isn’t true. On many levels, print products are more environmentally friendly than electronic products, and the net negative effect of electronic products on the environment are significantly higher than with print. Here are some of the most compelling statistics, compiled by Printing Industries of America.
- The primary raw material for paper is trees, which are a renewable resource. Once a printed product has served its purpose, it reenters the cycle as a new product.
- Only 11% of the world’s forests are used for paper, most is used for fuel
- Private landowners plant about 4 million trees every day, which is up to 4 times more than they harvest; the U.S. has 20% more trees today than it did in 1970
- 63.5% of all paper consumed in the U.S. was recovered for recycling in 2010. Paper recovery for recycling has increased by 77% since 1990.
- 33% of paper comes from wood chips and sawmill scraps; 33% comes from recycled paper
One of the reasons people might believe printing creates more waste is because of optics – its harder to see the impact that electronic devices have on the environment. The fact is, every time you use a device, be it the television, an e-reader or your smart phone, you are using energy, while print products have a one-time carbon footprint. Here are some other facts to dispel the myth of the sustainability of electronics.
- Electronic devices require the mining and refining of dozens of minerals and metals, as well as the use of plastic, hydrocarbon solvents and other non-renewable resources.
- CO2 emissions from making a CD are 4 times higher than from printing a 100-page, 4-color annual report
- In 2008, Americans generated 3.16 million tons of electronic waste. Up to 80% of electronic waste is shipped overseas and dismantling may not be regulated, leading to a larger impact on the environment than paper recycling.
- Adverse health effects from producing an e-reader are 70 times worse than producing a book.
Technology has evolved dramatically over the last 20 years – and electronic devices have made a significant impact on our world, and in the print industry. But as in all things the answer is not either/or. It is important to take a step back and evaluate when one medium can be more effective than another and create a balanced, efficient marketing plan.
In marketing, your brand and your people are your most important assets.
If you need multiple printed pieces used by many different locations, keeping your brand standards accurate can be a challenge. In addition, quality checking design for each an every iteration of your marketing materials takes time and resources a lean marketing department doesn’t have. How do you bridge the gap between quality and efficiency?
One answer is Virtual Print Centers (VPCs). A VPC is a branded online catalog that incorporates your actual design templates that conform to your brand standards while allowing customization of text and images, within limitless templates.
The benefits Virtual Print Centers:
- Centralized management of printed materials
- Multiple users can customize printed materials online
- Economies of scale of centralized purchasing with the speed and flexibility of decentralized ordering
- Print on demand minimizes warehousing and fulfillment
At Daniels Web-to-Print Solutions, we’ve built and actively manage dozens of Virtual Print Centers, from Colleges to small businesses. For even smaller businesses that do not require custom solutions, we offer My Print Docs for free storage and smaller print orders.
Web-to-Print services are the fastest growing segment in print today! As the popularity of W2P grows, our clients ask for more sophisticated applications of their W2P solution. Traditional commercial and quick printers must continue to rise to this challenge, or risk being left behind in a fast moving market.
In an effort to be original, graphic designers sometimes forget the basics. And designers accustomed to the more forgiving web environment may not understand that print production requires real attention to the mechanics of the space being designed. Graphic design templates help to avert these easy-to-make mistakes, as they contain the basic info every printer looks for: trim, bleed and safety. Understanding these three values can help prevent additional pre-press costs and missed deadlines, not to mention substandard results.
Trim– The final cut size of the printed piece.
Bleed– An extra 1/4″ (1/8″ each side) added to the trim size to allow any text or images to run over the edge.
Safety– Set at least 1/8″ in from the final trim size. Any images or text placed beyond the safety margin may get cut off when the finished piece is trimmed.
Recently it seems the buzzword “multichannel marketing” has been replaced with the even more opaque buzzword “omnichannel marketing.” All this really means is that audience engagement techniques have jumped another level, from using multiple channels of marketing to reach a customer, to using on-the-fly data to further personalize and enrich your relationship with an already engaged customer. Seems like a simple concept, right? And in an increasingly social world, it’s what customers have come to expect.
In-bound marketers use increasingly sophisticated multichannel marketing to illustrate that outbound direct mail marketing is no longer effective. However, the fact remains that 60% of online searches are generated because of offline advertising.
The challenge, of course, is the integration of online and offline. To be an effective part of the process, print manufacturers must invest in direct marketing technology to transition from traditional printer to direct marketing solutions provider. Web-to-print storefronts should be able to respond quickly to data generated by past mailings, online response to offline marketing, and customer buying habits, including automating pURLs, emails blasts and future mailings. Marketers will begin to expect these services from their print service providers and will choose their vendors accordingly.
Digital marketing eats a larger and larger piece of the marketing budget pie every year. In fact, a recent survey of marketing professionals found that over 40% of companies said they were going to reduce print marketing budgets in favor of digital marketing in 2013 – despite the well-documented effectiveness of print. So, how do you cut print marketing costs without cutting quality? The answer for medium-to-large- businesses is web to print.
InfoTrends reports that about 25% of today’s print volume is being executed by Web-to-Print. Use of this technology has begun to shift from corporate-identity products such as business cards and stationery to more sophisticated applications such as marketing collateral, direct mail, signage, wide format posters and banners. A Gartner EDSF study found that 38% of large companies reported savings of up to 25% and an additional 13% achieved savings of more than 25%. The cost-saving benefits of web-to-print:
- Reduce design cost and production cycles
- Eliminate 2-4 middlemen for more cost-effective workflow
- Reduced warehousing and fulfillment costs
- Reduced purchasing errors and rework
- Double-digit savings for repeat orders
Aside from cost savings, there are many other benefits of web-to-print, among them combining the efficiency of centralized purchasing with the luxury of custom ordering while maintaining brand consistency. But there’s no denying that web-to-print is an important component of a print marketer’s toolbox.
Google’s ill-considered “Go Paperless” marketing campaign earned well-deserved negative responses from all over the print industry and a reexamination of the real environmental impact of digital devices and online use. Putting aside the arguments about the well-documented sustainability and environmental responsibility of print products, print continues to be an important component of marketing messages. Printing Industries of America and InfoTrends, among others, have put together some really interesting statistical survey results. Some that struck me as great reminders of the effectiveness of print:
- Circulars and flyers influence 67% of household shopping trips
- Close to 90% of consumers want to receive promotional information via direct mail
- 70% of Americans prefer to read print and paper communications, rather than read onscreen
- 79% of non-profit donations come through direct mail
Still, the truth is that marketers and printers need to balance time-proven offline print initiatives with innovative digital tools for effective cross-marketing.
- 67% of online searches are driven by offline messages
- Combining direct mail with other marketing increases campaign effectiveness by up to 20%
- Websites supported by catalogs yield 163% more revenue than those not supported by catalogs
- Users who received a direct mail piece sending them to a website spent an average of 13% more than those who didn’t receive the print piece
Increasingly, smart marketers are recognizing there is no either/or to this argument, and are linking their print and digital campaigns in order to increase reach, effectively target demographic and improve response rates.
You can see more about this project on Mario Avila’s Blog “MAD” by clicking here!
Daniels web-to-print systems (W2P) are a “no muss, no fuss” print procurement solution that will help to improve the efficiency and speed of ordering your print and direct marketing printed products. With W2P your employees, staff, or students can select, edit, and approve printed products in minutes.
W2P provides an online centralized management system with the speed and benefits of decentralized ordering via a shopping cart. W2P allows users to customize and order all printed material online. You can store branded items like stationary, posters, post cards, banners, business cards, direct mail and more. With your Daniels W2P system you will be able to access a digital library of images (digital assets) for use in posters and invitations. With W2P you will minimize warehousing and fulfillment costs.
Daniels has an extensive history of print experience dating back to 1880. Our team consists of a talented group of graphic designers and software developers with an expertise in advanced W2P design and Print-On-Demand technologies. We offer standard size and large format digital and offset services as well as superior customer service, online and offline 24/7 365 days a year.
What our customers are saying:
“The BU Print Center has helped streamline the (print and procurement) process and helps maintain brand consistency” – Production Director, Higher Education
“Each office can easily order their own business cards and their sales people can personalize our marketing material to be more effective— saves us lots of time and money” – Marketing Manager, National Financial Services Company
“Our department managers can now edit and order their own print material from our online catalog. Printing quality is finally consistent throughout the company” – Procurement Officer, Healthcare Company