Heidi Tolliver-Walker is former print industry magazine editor and long-time industry analyst, content developer, author, and blogger. She has written for the industry’s top publications, research companies, and private companies for the past three decades — so long that she still has an AOL address, which she signed up for back when AOL was still cool. You can reach her at [email protected]
Part two of Heidi Tolliver-Walker’s interview with Arnie Kahn, president of PrintLink, a job placement service for the printing industry, about opportunities in a post-COVID-19 environment. Kahn describes opportunities for the right candidates to make lateral moves into new areas, such as changing market verticals or applying skill sets to new printing sectors.
What is the secret to keeping customers from switching to a competitor with lower prices, faster curbside pickup, or a coupon that drops at just the right time? Motista, a provider of predictive intelligence, thinks it has the answer. Customer affinity. A look at the conclusions and data from its two-year study.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that QR codes may be on their way back. In a recent post, I gave two examples of where QR codes should have been and weren’t, and now I’m going to give two examples of where QR codes weren’t, but now they are and why.
A look at the conclusions from “Market Trends 2020,” a new report from Chief Outsiders, a network of top CMOs. The bottom line: We have become accustomed to marketing being driven by buzzwords like “customer engagement” and “focus on the customer,” but those things now must be tied to real, measurable company growth.
If customer experience is king, then maybe we need to stop making fun of QR Codes and take them more seriously, especially with the growing reliance on cellphones for both in-home and out-of-home interaction and with so many situations in which AR and NFC just aren’t practical. Two lost opportunities for customer engagement tell the tale.
I recently interviewed an executive at a large print shop, and in that conversation, we discussed the role of direct mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. With direct mail becoming increasingly sophisticated and printers investing in both printing and finishing equipment that enables more creative pieces, we discussed how now is actually a great time to be sending mail.
Consumer attitudes toward packaging are changing. Even as packaging becomes more upscale, more marketing-oriented, and more engaging, consumers exhibit growing wariness about its environmental impacts. What is the industry doing about it?
Printers are considered essential businesses. Are they still hiring? How is the COVID-19 pandemic impacting placement for essential printing jobs? Arnie Kahn, president of PrintLink, provides some insight.
Fun collection of direct mail fails that represent the kind of classic mistakes we see on a regular basis. While these examples are funny, there is a serious message behind them. Know your direct mail fails... and don’t let your clients repeat them!
What will be the long-term impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the printing industry? There are three possibilities: It will shift even more communications to digital channels as marketers reduce their direct mail spend during the lockdown and keep it that way; direct mail volume will remain unchanged; or direct mail could see a resurgence as marketers and their customers develop a newfound appreciation for the channel they’ve been missing.
As the world reels from the impact of the coronavirus and the increasing scarcity of critical medical equipment like masks, gloves, and ventilators, the 3D maker community is stepping in to do its part. Do you have a 3D printer? Join the movement.
According to new research from Printing for Less (PFL) and Demand Metric, marketers are not always using the most effective channels, even when they know what they are. Instead, they use the channels they know and are most familiar with. A look at some intriguing data on channel use and channel effectiveness, including types of direct mail.
Today I received a marketing letter that was an interesting twist on the use of faux handwriting to make a communication feel more personal. But instead of the handwriting being on the front, it peeked through a window on the back.
According to new research, marketing technology does more than make marketing automation easier. It results in higher response rates and higher ROI. A look at a study from Printing for Less (PFL) and Demand Metric.
Reports like Resonate’s “State of the Consumer Report” provide valuable insight into buyer types and how to understand and segment them in ways that help you develop great targeted copy. But before you can develop personalized or targeted content, there is a more fundamental question to ask. Once this question is answered, your targeting and personalization efforts will have maximum success.
According to data from Evergage/Research International, marketers are starting to “get” one of the most fundamental values of personalized experiences. Yes, personalization drives immediate sales, but more importantly, it creates better customer experiences and higher customer loyalty, which drive better ROI over time. The shift from a short-term to a long-term perspective is great news for everyone producing personalized campaigns, whether they are doing online personalization or not.
When we think about creating relevance in marketing communications, we think about personalizing based on traditional factors such as demographics and past purchases. But the principle of “liking” adds another useful dimension to the equation.
Data insights and expert testimony tell a powerful tale: a nonprofit’s “thank you” letter matters more than many people might think. Get it right and donors feel great and are motivated to keep giving. Get it wrong and they disconnect. So get it right!
Collection of print case studies showcasing how print can be used in ways that most of us have never considered. While many case studies showcase the high-end “most clients can’t afford this” kind of possibilities, these show the use of simple, traditional techniques in ways that make you stop and say, “I wish I’d thought of that!”
To find out what consumers really think about channel preferences, the CMO Council surveyed 2,000 consumers in English-speaking countries across the world. The takeaway? Understanding, tracking, and responding to consumers’ channel preferences has never been more important.
Where are retailers along the curve of personalized marketing? What is the ROI? What works and what doesn’t? These were some of the questions Liveclicker wanted to answer with its report “Driving Value with Advanced Personalization.” The takeaway? Basic personalization isn’t enough anymore.
In the past, surveys have shown that people are willing to provide their personal data in exchange for personalized experiences, but new research from the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) shows that this willingness is changing. What’s going on?
What happens when you show people they can save time by holding their phones up to a black-and-white graphic and connecting directly to a website? I’m having the opportunity to watch it happen in real time.
Will augmented reality finally gain widespread adoption in print and digital marketing communications? When will it move beyond enterprise applications, gaming, and social media? To find out, ARtillry Intelligence worked with Thrive to survey 2000+ U.S. adults.
When you think of promotional products, what comes to mind? Branded hats and pens? Tote bags? Many printers may not see these items going with their clients’ high-end image, so they may not give these complementary offerings a fair shot. But promotional items can also include high-end luxury items used for C-level executives, influencers, and corporate events. Some, like this company’s products, even offer the trendy element of sustainability.
If you want to grab immediate attention with direct mail, make the mailer look like something other than a traditional letter. Mailers often use envelopes designed to look like USPS Priority Mail, Air Mail, or UPS or FedEx packages. But do some efforts cross the line?
NAPCO Research has released a new report on the use of personalization in direct mail. The report finds that marketers are evenly splitting their campaigns between personalized, segmented, and mass mailing approaches and that highly personalized campaigns are seeing increases in response rates up to 17% in certain market verticals.
Study by Iterable looking at the marketing strategies of “top retailers” vs. “fastest growing retailers” during the two-week period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The results? The fastest growing retailers were more focused on “near sales,” less likely to send promotional emails, more likely to re-engage abandoned cart shoppers, and less likely to use multiple channels to do it.
Are “magic” subject lines really magic? Or are they only magic for certain people? Are you tracking who is responding to which? If you know which customers respond to which tactics, you’re way ahead of the game.
According to the Small Business Administration, 89.0% of all businesses in the United States have less than 20 employees. What are the primary goals, challenges, and marketing tactics of these companies? This survey from Taradel provides some insights.
Usually, when a printer has a sustainability page on its website, the page talks about things like carbon emissions, tree planting, or use of environmentally certified papers. But PebblePost has a sustainability page, too—but it is talking not about consumables and energy use, but how its trigger-based direct mail programs, in themselves, are environmentally friendly. This is a great model for presenting direct mail as an environmentally friendly option that can help marketers meet their sustainability goals.
Takeaways from a recent webinar on triggered and automated direct marketing, both from a high-level technology perspective and from the perspective of a mid-sized printer producing real programs every day.
Highlights from the white paper “What Can Neuroscience Tell Us About Why Magazine Advertising Works?” Published by the Magazine Publishers Association, the white paper synthesizes years of neuroscience studies on why people understand, recall, and are better motivated by information provided in print rather than digital.
We have been hearing for a while that 24% of Americans in rural areas still have no access to broadband, making print critical for marketers looking to reach those areas. This isn’t just a small pocket here and there. There are entire communities, even cities, without broadband access, where only traditional channels like print can reach.
Whether it’s a print business or any other type of business (such as your customers’ businesses), retaining customers is critical. But knowing how important it is and being able to develop and execute an effective strategy are two different things. Here are five tips you can use to guide your customer retention strategy, as well as your customers’.
Last week, I posted a list of links to neuroscience studies showing the power of print over digital in many areas, including content retention, recall, and willingness to buy. One of those resources contains a reference to a 2015 study that is often overlooked. The study looks not just at print vs. digital, but the weight of the paper, as well. If you are not familiar with this study, you should be.
Print and digital communications both have their strengths, but when it comes to comprehension and recall, studies consistently show that information communicated in print is more deeply embedded, recalled with more detail, and creates a more powerful emotional engagement than digital. Here is a compiled list of links on studies on the neuroscience of print, or how our brains respond to print vs. digital communications, listed in chronological order of publication.
How are small businesses implementing multichannel marketing? What role does direct mail play in those strategies? Taradel decided to find out. This article takes a look at some key findings and takeaways.
Research from Pebble Post/Murphy Research finds that direct mail shoppers are highly engaged and spend, research, and evangelize more than non-direct mail shoppers. What’s behind this behavior? A look at the data from Pebble Post, as well as others.
In concert with Pebble Post, Murphy Research released a study that puts data to what we intuitively know but can’t always document: that direct mail drives purchase consideration and plays a central role in the path to purchase. These are good numbers to have!
Printers have become accustomed to incentivizing customers to use environmentally friendly consumables by minimizing the cost difference from non-green versions. But a new research study shows that this approach may be counter-productive. Would charging more for a “green marketing package” actually increase your customers’ green purchasing intent? This study suggests that the answer is yes.
Doing good has become good business practice. We not only see it in action, but the research bears it out, too. Fortunately, we are seeing printers taking up the mantle and investing in various areas of social responsibility, cementing customer relationships and (hopefully) creating positive peer pressure to do the same.
If today’s online storefronts and web-to-print workflows don’t look anything like they used to, there’s a reason. The software has advanced leaps and bounds from where it was even a few years ago. This interview with founder and CEO of Amazing Print Tech Slava Apel reflects how the technology is changing...and how it is changing those who use it.
Even as the technology and implementation of augmented reality races forward at blazing speed, many marketers are still stuck in the past. As a result, and as illustrated by my recent experience with the prize in a Cracker Jack box, it hurts the entire industry.
Heidi Tolliver-Walker summarizes Eddy Hagen’s recent study on the impact of product packaging damage and color variation on consumer purchases. Hagen’s surveys always challenge our assumptions, and this one is no different. The conclusion? Color variation isn’t as important to consumers as it is to the rest of us.
I got four Millennials and one Gen Z in a room and peppered them with questions about QR Codes. Did they use them? Why or why not? If they didn’t, what was holding them back? What I discovered is that, in the mind of these generations, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
There is a trait that top executives of growing print companies share. It’s the art of being still and listening. Here are three examples of how top print executives do this in their own way...and why.
Traditionally, when people share a printed piece they have received with others, we use the term “pass-along.” But what if we want to think about print in a more current context? What if we started using the term “shared” instead?” In other words, what if we started thinking about print the same way we think about digital channels?
Part of being a marketing services provider is helping your clients with their marketing, and this goes beyond integrating marketing channels and improving databases. It includes selecting and tweaking the right offers, too. Studies on this topic provide fascinating insight into the psychology of discounts and deals.
To move the needle on direct mail responses, your customers may change up their copy, their images, or their list. But what about their offers? A new Bed Bath & Beyond mailer raises an interesting question.
Looking at a series of case studies on high-speed inkjet, the takeaway is how unremarkable investing in this technology has become. The decision is no longer about the readiness of the technology itself. It’s about market pressures and cost-justification...just like any other capital investment. How times change!
A new study from Yieldify shows that, even though it costs more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, marketers are more focused on customer acquisition than retention. What does this mean for you?
Consumers care about environmental issues more than ever, and they are using their spending dollars to reward companies that share their values. A new study shows just how important this trend has become.
As you help your customers gather data to improve their targeted marketing, the good news is that consumers are more willing than ever to share it. But it’s not a given. As a recent study reminds us, trust and transparency are key to getting them to open the vault.
This Minneapolis-based startup is changing the way retailers and others are thinking about direct mail. No batches. No minimums. Just programmatic direct mail generated by a trigger determined by the customer that puts the mailer into the queue in real time.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are changing the way consumers interact with brands. But much of this technology is operating in the background. What is the current status of awareness and adoption of AR/VR and what does it mean for marketers? A survey from GlobalWebIndex provides some insight.
Research consistently shows that companies with gender-diverse leadership teams have significantly higher profits than those that don’t. The reason? Different approaches to hiring, problem-solving, and relationship-building, all of which have positive benefits on the bottom line.
A look at a well-intentioned personalized mailing that illustrates why it’s so important to get these communications right. Not just so the client gets the best return on investment, but to preserve your own relationship with the client. Poor personalization = poor results, and poor results = disengaged clients. Nobody wants that.
When we look at case studies, we immediately scan to the bottom of the page to see what the metrics are. One case study from IMS Direct illustrates why it’s important to look deeper into the numbers to find the real story.
As if you needed one more reason to add packaging to your product mix! A new study from WestRock, a leading provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, shows that consumers are loving packaging more than ever. The study, “2018 Packaging Matters,” outlines the key factors that influence consumer decisions.
As you tease out the last bits of efficiency and productivity from your operations, the primary way to continue to grow your business is to add new services. The question is, which ones? How do you make smart decisions about what is best for your business? Sometimes the considerations go deeper than you might think.
Two Sides has reported that brands are moving away from “Go Paperless—Go Green” messaging because of negative publicity around greenwashing. As consumers start to recognize these ads as dishonest and really intended to save companies money, brands are switching from environmental messaging to convenience messaging instead. T.J. Maxx is one of them.
This survey by NAPCO Research and commissioned by the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) included something rarely seen in digital printing surveys: a look at the use of digital printing across the entire buyer’s journey. It’s good news. Retailers are embracing digital printing for more than just direct mail.
As marketers scramble to increase the depth of their knowledge about every aspect of their customers’ habits, preferences, and patterns, there may be a simple data point that is getting overlooked—the weather. Weather has a direct effect on the sales of 30% of all products and services and is the second biggest influence on consumer behavior. Are your customers taking advantage?
There are a lot of ways to personalize a document. What if something as simple as location could nearly double response rates? It can. By personalizing maps based on this single data point, response rates can be outstanding. The question is why?
Thinking about adding mail tracking to your roster of services? It takes extra cost and effort, so how would you pitch the value to your clients? Case studies from Pitney Bowes show that mail tracking can benefit more than just high-volume mailers looking to tweak in-home delivery dates. It can solve problems and save your clients from major marketing disasters.
It’s working! Our industry’s campaign against the false claims of greenwashing is having an impact. Consumers are starting to see claims like “Go Paperless! Go Green!” as false and misleading, and marketers are changing their tactics.
What would happen if you took the time to imagine what your shop might look like if you could start from scratch? If there were no financial or legacy constraints? What might you do differently from what you have now? What might you learn from walking through that exercise?
Marketing efforts are generally directed at customers and prospects, but there is another target audience that needs your clients’ attention, too—their employees. This is an area of growing attention that your presses will thank you for.
When it comes to the environmental benefits of flexible packaging, the laundry list is long. On the surface, flexible packaging offers a vast number of benefits over other forms of packaging. The challenge to these comparisons, however, is that flexible packaging isn’t doing a one-to-one replacement. How does this impact the accuracy of the discussion?
Improving customer experience (CX) is becoming an increasingly important part of any company’s marketing plan. That goes as much for the printing industry as it does for everyone else. So are you a Panera? Or [the other guy]?
As the number of USPS Informed Delivery accounts continues to grow, will it change the way marketers design their mail? Will it change consumers’ behavior and how they interact with the mail? I know that it has already changed mine.
We are in a color-obsessed industry. Brand colors, in particular, are critical. When it comes to specific shades of color, however, studies show that consumers’ color memories are really poor. Considering this, along with the inability to maintain brand color standards in a digital world, where does the value in maintaining brand standards really lie?
As the level of sophistication and effectiveness of digital marketing grows, and as the younger generation of marketers who natively understand and use these channels continues to overtake the traditional generation, is the future of print to understand digital marketing and fit into its world rather than the other way around?
What do you think the role of the printing industry and printers, specifically, ought to be in demand generation for print? Do printers even have a responsibility to work together to generate demand for their own product?
A look at one printer’s effort to reach out to the design and marketing community to promote the value of direct mail—and not just any direct mail, but direct mail designed to drive website traffic. It’s a real eye-catcher and great inspiration.
This morning, I received a personalized email that was anything but personal. While this was an email, the mistake could easily have ended up in print, and it offers object lessons for all of us. Before we send out anything data-driven, let’s make sure it reads as if it was written by a human being.
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.