One of the key tenets of successful marketing, if not the most important, is delivering the right message at the right time. In the modern landscape, companies craft digital messages—blogs, email campaigns, e-books, white papers, and social media posts—with the hopes of pulling an increasingly online customer base to their offerings.
Traditional printed marketing collateral, however, holds an important place in overall marketing strategies.
After all, in the B2B space, you’d still leave business cards, lookbooks, brochures, catalogs, and flyers with prospective clients following a meeting to encourage them to contact you. For manufacturers whose products line the shelves at retail stores, you’d like to drive customers to your brand with printed displays, shelf talkers, or shelf-ready packaging.
Printed collateral even plays a crucial role in e-commerce: Packages can arrive at consumers’ homes with personalized messages of thanks inside. Or as connected packaging directing them to digital platforms. When combined with effective secondary packaging and labels, printed marketing collateral also creates an important synergy.
Effective marketing comes from taking advantage of the options in front of you, including the latest printing technologies, to craft campaigns that drive brand awareness and sales.
If you’re not including printed materials in that, you’re missing out.
Create Brand Awareness With Something Tangible
Somewhere along the way, you’ve likely heard the advice to “leave something behind” in reference to a meeting. This could be a resume or portfolio of work for job candidates. It could be window clings, pocket folders, posters, marketing kits, or product samples.
No matter what it is, the idea behind the advice is the same: Printed marketing collateral is something tangible recipients can hold onto, even if it sits on their desk for a while, staring at them. When they’re reminded of your service, Voilà! contact information is conveniently there.
That thinking still applies. Consider the email inbox. You’d be much more likely to hit delete on a mass email than immediately throw away something someone hands or delivers to you.
The marketing collateral doesn’t have to be a simple thing, either.
For example, imagine contacts in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey. With a well-thought-out and well-designed catalog or lookbook, you can highlight your company’s offerings and services in depth while also positioning yourself as a leader in the industry. If there’s an ethical component to your company—such as an emphasis on sustainability or sustainable packaging—this is a place to appeal to customers’ sensibilities as much as their pocketbooks and wallets.
In retail spaces, printed displays can feature eye-catching details that enhance your brand and direct consumers to products sharing similarly styled packaging.
Those experiences stay with customers, especially when they’re blended with your digital efforts. It gives them something concrete they can associate with your brand.
Deliver a Custom, Multi-Layered Experience
Let’s return to the previous sentence for a moment: Printed marketing collateral and digital marketing shouldn’t be seen as a case of an ‘old school vs. new school’ line of thinking. Instead, the most effective marketing campaigns commingle their printed and digital marketing efforts.
Integrating Connected Packaging
Every piece of printed collateral should have a call-to-action. This could include a simple message such as ‘Contact us,’ social media handles and hashtags, or a QR code that links to your homepage—each of these a form of connected packaging.
You can employ this technique to creative effect.
For instance, your brand might consider gamifying your packaging with flyers inviting consumers to participate with a rewards program or game online. Or you can integrate it into your very packaging, as made famous by McDonald’s Monopoly game.
Consumers often find it beneficial when printed marketing collateral directs them to an informational website with tips on how to use your product—including how-to videos, or connecting them with viral social media posts from other loyal fans and influencers of your brand.
Interactive maps can be fun, as well, easily made possible with a smartphone and QR code. Perhaps, you’re a food brand that prioritizes local ingredients and you’re eager to show consumers all the places where their food comes from. Get inventive with it.
In the world of e-commerce, companies have also supplemented a digital act—shopping online—with marketing pieces: rigid thank you cards, coupons for the customers’ next purchases, or stickers recipients can display on a laptop, notebook, or tablet.
Utilizing Variable Data Printing
Variable data printing has also opened the possibilities for customization.
The digital printing technique enables brands to produce personalized messages for their customers. This is often found in direct mailers—special offers for loyal customers, for example, that have shown to produce great returns on investment—but it can be used to create unique experiences for the consumer.
Take human-grade, all-natural dog food manufacturer Sundays for Dogs, which customized its packaging to feature the recipient’s dog’s name, and includes a handwritten note. Recipients were inspired to show off their gifts on social media, increasing the company's brand awareness.
That’s the kind of project that comes from thinking a little differently and making the most of the resources available to curate a multilayered unboxing experience for customers.
It also requires an experienced printing partner to make it all happen, one that can promise color control and consistency (with cost-effective extended gamut printing), fulfillment and finishing services, and an innovative approach to match your creative ideas.