Print Takes Center Stage by Sandy Hubbard

Printing moves into the spotlight in cross media campaigns

This was the year that Print stepped into the spotlight and showed how well it plays with others. In every integrated campaign I’ve done this year, the key to success has been to create high quality content and engage with customers regularly. Print is a key part of this strategy.


Because print conveys credibility, it’s the perfect follow up to digital communications. Print is trustworthy. And because print is tactile and permanent, it is the logical culmination to an integrated campaign. Print is a keeper.


For my clients using email and print as a one-two punch, we focused this year on making sure the print has a purpose. A trackable, personalized email that opens the door, followed by a custom printed piece, can take the interaction to the next level. We used print to reward loyalty and deepen the relationship with the customer.

The combination of email plus print belongs in your toolbox.


By focusing on quality of communication in all aspects of the integrated campaign, we achieved new levels in creativity with our printed pieces. One of the things that really helped my creativity was to attend #PrintChat each week on Twitter.

As you may know, I assist chat host Deborah Corn with the moderation of the chat. When chatters share their ideas and connect with each other, it’s amazing  to see an idea take off during the chat and become a viable marketing concept. The weekly exposure to clever people in the printing industry has improved my own work with clients.


Most of my clients use trackable direct mail. We deploy small mailings to targeted recipients so we can test ideas that we will later drop into more expensive and complex campaigns. We get advice from experts in the mailing industry who have been doing this for decades and can advise us on best practices in integrated marketing.

Targeted and trackable direct mail helps us move in a methodical way toward our goals. From a sales perspective, it also allows my clients to keep their sales teams focused by incorporating tight deadlines, specific tasks, and concrete benchmarks. And this year—using direct mail and intelligence gathering—we worked more closely with the sales managers in my clients’ companies than ever before.  


This year we tested simpler tools to help clients with their marketing automation and content management. These tools get better all the time. Some of my clients have complex tools that interface with their contact management system, customer service, job tracking and quality control reporting. 

With other clients, we implement an easy cloud-based app to manage the sales and marketing process. You can try out a variety of tools, usually for free, and see how your sales team likes them. Pick one and you could be up and running with it within a week. A system like this will help you be more intentional and organized in your activities, and it will help you leverage your results.


Whether print or digital, I believe the key is regular, professional communications that are designed to spark action and interaction. As you put together your integrated campaigns featuring digital and print, it’s important that the content is useful, relevant, personalized and current. And it’s crucial to get to know your customers and understand what your role is in their success.

The results of this research will guide you in the coming year as you develop integrated sales and marketing campaigns that spotlight the power of print.

sandy_hubbard_printmediacentrSandy Hubbard is a marketing strategist for print and media companies that are going through extreme change or growth. She builds marketing programs that can be sustained over the long haul, with affordable tools…and without stress! Find Sandy on Twitter at @sandyhubbard each Wednesday at 4 pm ET, assisting #PrintChat host Deborah Corn @PrintMediaCentr with a lively online discussion for printers and those who love print. 

Photo by Maria Nayef during United Nations Thrash Tour, Melbourne, Aus.

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