Print is not dead (yet), and why it still matters to your brand.
The Internet is simply one tool by which to get consumers’ attention. While the web offers an immediate way for customers to learn more about your product or service, it takes more than getting people to visit a web site to get them to open up their pocketbooks. Print, on the other hand, helps enhance your brand by offering customers a more tactile, intimate and memorable experience.
Brochures, catalogs, or direct mailers make the intangible more real when potential customers can hold printed collateral in their hands. They keep your product or service top-of-mind when making buying decisions, or give people something to look at while waiting to speak with a representative at a tradeshow or convention. There is a reason why companies still spend millions of dollars on printed catalogs and car dealerships are stocked with hundreds of glossy brochures.
The key to developing print collateral that will support your brand (and help drive traffic to your web site) is to evaluate your sales process to determine the various touch points you have with your customers. Some of the items that we consistently develop for our clients include the following:
If your company attends tradeshows on a regular basis, a large pop-up display might be a good investment. While hardware can be expensive (up to a few thousand dollars), they are easy to ship and have the capacity for interchangeable graphic panels. Bannerstands (fabric panels that work much like old-fashioned projector screens) are a less expensive option that still have the ability for customized graphics. In addition to your backdrop or display, it is important to have some sort of printed handout; this provides attendees something to remember you by, as well as give them information about your product or service should they have to wait in line for a meeting with your representative.
Sales Kit or Leave-Behind:
There is often a gate-keeper between your sales team and the decision maker at a prospective customer’s office. Taking a packet of information about your brand to leave with them is one way to make a favorable impression; that is, if your collateral is unique and professionally developed. A small brochure espousing the benefits (NOT features) of your product or service is one approach. A customized pocket folder containing not only a brochure, but also case study or informational insert sheets, is another effective printed piece that will help your brand get noticed.
Direct Mailer or Follow-up pieces:
Conventional wisdom dictates that direct mail is usually ineffective at driving traffic to a web site or increasing brand awareness. While this might be true with MASS direct mail (a shotgun approach sending unsolicited pieces of mail to thousands of people), developing a highly targeted campaign to valuable customers or prospects can be effective. The secret is to develop a list of fewer recipients that share a similar problem or interest, and then send only those prospects a series of 3-4 mailers that address those pain points and offers a solution.
Print and interactive can work in tandem to build your brand. Printed collateral such as direct mail can help drive traffic to a unique, web landing page for your product or service, where results of different marketing campaigns and messages can be tracked. Tradeshow handouts or sales brochures may contain “call to action” statements or incentives to also drive traffic. Despite what some may say, print is most certainly not dead, and it won’t be going away anytime soon—together with the web and other interactive technologies, it is a powerful way to reach customers, increase brand loyalty, and promote purchases.
By: Ryan Hembree, Principal, Brand & Creative Strategy