Pretty well everything we print for business is done as a marketing exercise. If it’s a brochure, it’s produced to market your company, your brand or your products and services (or a combination of all four). If it’s a printed postcard, its primary focus is probably products and services (though the distribution method or design can seriously heighten your brand kudos too).
But whatever the material you’re printing, chances are that it’s all done with a view to grabbing the attention of your customer’s eyeballs and getting them to take a particular action. And usually, let’s not beat about the bush, that’s getting in touch with you to buy something.
Once we’ve managed to get the printed item into the hands of our customers and encouraged them to take that action, most of us are then interested in two things:
- Answering customers quickly and fulfilling their orders
- Following quickly on from this, working out exactly what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong so we can repeat and improve upon the process.
And to be sure you’re doing either of these in a business involves measurement and analysis.
Which is all well and good when it’s something that’s easily measurable. But what if it’s not? Some print items are harder to measure than others. And for some items – promoting a specific one-off event for example – it’s arguably not worth the effort and expense in creating any reporting-infrastructure to start that measurement or analysis.
But in this digital world where customers are connected to you with an electronic umbilical, one of the goals of marketing is to measure more or less everything that’s measurable. That includes anything from an electronic whisper about your brand to a sale sent out of the warehouse.
Of course, a sale needn’t be something that’s physically dispatched. The tracking of services or ‘company buzz’ (and other such ethereal constructs) are just as likely to register with the marketeer as direct response mechanisms. But, I’d argue, some are more core and vital to company profitability than others, so that’s where we’ll start.
In the first of a series of articles, we’ll first look at printing and measuring the effectiveness of direct marketing materials, then take a look at a range of print product types and see how businesses are tracking the ROI on their spend. We’ll try and move on to the role of print within a multi-channel world – all the while striving to keep buzzwords and jargon such as ‘multi-channel’ to a minimum.
More to come…