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Commentary & Analysis

Could User-Generated Content Benefit Your Print Business?

Could user-generated content be a key to selling print? A new survey suggests some intriguing possibilities.

By Heidi Tolliver-Walker
Published: February 21, 2018

We love print, but we want to grow our businesses, too. We want our customers to understand the value of print, but we want to show that we understand the power of digital channels and multichannel engagement, as well. What if there were a way to combine the two? This gave me an idea.

Stackla, a visual content engine that aggregates and licenses user-generated content (UCG) for use in brand marketing, just released a report on what types of content are most likely to engage consumers and influence their purchasing decisions. Its study, “The 2017 Consumer Content Report: Influence in the Digital Age,” surveyed 2,000 adults in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia, examining the content being created and shared online and what influences consumers’ purchasing decisions the most.

What characteristic did Stackla find that makes content the most influential? Authenticity. According to the study, 86% of respondents say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support. More than half (60%) say user-generated content, specifically, is the most authentic form of content, and respondents were three times more likely to say that content created by a consumer is authentic compared to content created by a brand.

The Stackla website has a variety of use cases that show how brands can put UGC in action, such as encouraging customers to create videos of themselves using their products or licensing UGC relevant to the brand’s products, then allowing people to vote for “best of show” on the brand’s website or Facebook page.

How can we apply this concept to print marketing? I think back to my previous post on why people love print. The post was based on comments from people in the print industry, but it got me thinking: What if printers got their customers to do the same thing? Ask them why they love print. Have them produce videos, submit comments, or fun images of themselves with their favorite printed product? Then use that content to create competitions, award prizes, and populate their websites, social media accounts, and email newsletters?

Using UGC in your marketing could have multiple benefits. First, it maintains engagement with your own customers. What could be better for your brand than having your customers compete by talking about how much they love your product? Why be the only one telling the story of the value of print when your customers can help do it for you? Second, sharing that content as part of a competition or other social media campaign establishes authenticity that helps customers trust you and want to engage with your brand and your products.

What do you think?

Heidi Tolliver-Walker Heidi is an industry analyst specializing in digital, one-to-one, personalized URL, and Web-to-print applications. Her Marketer’s Primer Series, availalbe through Digital Printing Reports, includes “Digital Printing: Transforming Business and Marketing Models,” 1:1 (Personalized) Printing: Boosting Profits Through Relevance,” “Personalized URLs: Beyond the Hype,” and “Web-to-Print: Transforming Document Management and Marketing.”



By Rick Levy on Feb 21, 2018

I think it's an interesting concept. I'm concerned that clients and customers of even small companies won't participate because of company policy, lack of time during the day and possible back lash from "putting yourself out there". This is my immediate reaction. I know I wouldn't do it, too busy to take the time and energy to create a video or enter a contest. If I'm wrong, which I hope I am, It's a great idea.


By Gina Danner on Feb 21, 2018

We recently ran a campaign that demonstrated involved direct mail. The campaign included personalized direct mail, highest quality of design and print / email / social media / targeted digital ad buy. Our goal was to show multi-channel marketing and high value direct mail.

We asked the B2B recipients to create a video and post it with a specific hashtag. The winning video would earn a $500 gift card.

We had lots of engagement and conversations, but only a few videos. While we were disappointed, we will try it again... and again... and again... This campaign got people talking and interacting with their direct mail.


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