26th June 2017 / Marketing, Print Posted by Paul Ovenden

Why cross media / print investment is essential support to effective digital marketing

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Customer experience is key. This is the most important marketing message for 2017 and one that we see repeated almost daily across social media and blogland. However, in this digitally driven age in which we live it’s easy to forget that customer experience doesn’t start and end with websites and social customer service. Your customers are real people living in a 3D world and so the most effective customer experience is made up of online, offline and face-to-face.

You may already have incredible digital marketing capability but if that’s the only channel you pursue then you’re limiting your reach. The most impactful marketing campaigns today are those that include a range of media, such as print, too. So how can cross media investment boost your business and where does it tie in with digital?

Task: strengthening brand recognition/boosting sales
Media: promotional products

According to the British Promotional Merchandise Association there is a direct link between promotional products and improvement in brand recognition and increased sales. A BPMA study found that 66% of people still recalled the brand responsible for a promotional product received in the past 12 months. Plus, 56% said that the promotional item made them think better of the company and 87% kept the promo product for more than a year. So, when it comes to looking for ways to make your branding more effective, remember that it’s about more than just digital design.

Task: building local profile
Media: flyers and posters

Establishing strong local markets is crucial for many businesses particularly those that operate almost entirely offline, such as restaurants, theatres and festivals. The vast wealth of resources that has gone into developing Google Local shows just how important this aspect is. Tying up Google Local adverts and profile with flyering and design aimed at your local community is a smart way to double the impact of your efforts and bring your business off a search results page and into the real lives of the local community.

Task: personalisation
Media: mail

If you’re a keen follower of marketing trends then you’ll have spotted how much the word ‘personalisation’ is being repeated this year. Much of this revolves around the information that can be gathered from social media insights and customer data and using this to boost brand loyalty and customer experience. One very effective way to make this data go further is to apply it offline. When it comes to communication, businesses today largely opt for email but personalised letters, brochures and reports – used sparingly and carefully designed – have much more impact. If you’re not convinced of this, a study by neuromarketing firm TrueImpact found that direct mail required 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media and tested considerably better for brand recognition than digital. So, letters can be more direct, more communicative and more effective when it comes to building your brand in person.

Task: bringing visuals to life
Media: brochures, business cards, design

In impact terms, there is a big difference between the branding and visuals we see on a screen and those we view in real life. Print gives your brand a tangible impact like no other medium. Stunning print on quality stock brings your brand to life, in your customer’s hands. A study conducted by Temple University in Pennsylvania used fMRI brain scans to compare the impact of digital vs. paper ads and found that physical media triggered emotional reactions that digital didn’t, was reviewed for longer and was more likely to create a subconscious desire for a product or service. So, if you’ve invested in great visuals, or you have very visually impactful products or imagery, you can increase their effectiveness by bringing them to life in tangible form.

Digital content and marketing has a big part to play in the battle to win at customer experience but so too do other media. At the end of the day it should be about the best way to reach customers and enhance their experience of your brand. It’s no longer a question of either or but of finding the best cross media approach to give your audience what they need to consequently make your business stronger.