Print Media Centr_Christine Alexander_automate
I’ll never forget the first time I sat down with a Fortune 500 company to discuss the idea of implementing hyper-personalized direct mail marketing to the millions of people in their loyalty rewards program. They were the largest advocate for direct mail communications I had ever seen in my brief four years in printing sales, and I was thrilled for the opportunity to create a dialogue with them and their customers.

They’d been tracking their customer’s buying habits for years, but one very big obstacle stood in our way of bringing relevance to their communications…their data was literally everywhere. And to top that off, while their direct mail team was based in my hometown, their email communications were handled half way across the country.

I tell you all this to let you know one thing…

I understand how challenging it can be to actually get that first hyper-personalized campaign rolling, but in 2016, it’s more important than ever that printers help marketers reel in their data and enable them to bring a personalized approach to the mailbox.

Over the last year, I have seen a major influx of digital marketing companies touting their personalization capabilities. Companies like Salesforce are not only helping businesses gather their data into a singular space, but they’re also enabling marketers and sales professionals to leverage their Pardot communication software to send and track personalized digital communications with their audiences. Heck, some of these tech companies are even leveraging PURLs.

But what they don’t have?

They don’t have the print component that actually grabs the reader’s attention! And this is where printers really have the chance to shine in 2016.

With top trends in the marketing sphere being data-driven, and most importantly, automated – this is the year to show your customers how you can help them bring function to their mounds of data…all while automating some of the most common touch points they’re currently deploying daily, weekly, or monthly.

In fact, my first successful multi-channel campaign did just that for a moving company that had next to no data at all. They were taking data feeds from their strategic realtor business partners, and sending out the exact same postcard…followed by the exact same email 2-3 times a week. By automating this process for them, we were able to add reminder emails to the campaign and trigger lead notifications that went to their designated sales team members.

Additionally, we were able to give the company insights they never had before. By bringing the print and email components together, they were able to track responses in real-time within a single dashboard. Not only were we able to save them time and money, we will helping them become smarter marketers too!

By being able to compare print and email responses side by side, we were able to find a strong correlation in increased response rates and the number of touch points a recipient received. Those who had received both an email and a postcard were FIVE times more likely to respond to the mover’s campaign. How’s that for value add?

So in 2016, I challenge you to do this…

Partner with your existing customers to identify these opportunities for automation. What emails are they sending consistently? What direct mail pieces are they sending on a regular basis? Give them the opportunity to test their messaging and offers.

Actually put together self-promotional campaigns that show your customers the power of the multi-channel solution you have to offer. This will not only give you sample data to showcase your solution, but it can be a fun and engaging way to educate how influential the print component can be.

Christine AlexanderChristine_Alexander_Bioshot is self-confessed ink-sniffer and an independent marketing consultant for companies within the graphic arts industry. Her specialties include graphic design, content marketing, community building, event planning and strategy development across a wide array of media. With nearly a decade of experience in commercial printing, Christine has held roles in prepress management, marketing direction, print sales, and operations management.

Connect with Christine: Twitter @tini_bop / Facebook

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