This is a new age of technology, where online branding and internet marketing have spread across every industry and business size, those that cannot rise to the standards of this digital world quickly fall behind. It wasn’t very long ago that many in the marketing world even predicted that in this new era of business, traditional marketing tactics like print would one day begin to dissipate and slowly sink into obsoletion. That time has come and gone again.
Today, marketing has stepped into something far more progressive—the merging of the traditional and digital mediums of advertising. Let me be clear, businesses have employed both streams of promotion for a long time. But we’re not talking about using them side-by-side for the sake of maximum exposure—which is what has been done in the past. We’re talking about the merging—the cohesion of both tactics, each supporting and driving the success of the other.
In order to keep up with the mind and appetite of today’s consumer, businesses must learn to cultivate the relationship between brand and buyer consistently across every environment and in new, innovative ways. That means, not only mastering the art of online marketing, but recognizing and utilizing the resurrection of print and its place in this world.
Here are 5 ways that thriving marketing campaigns are using print media to draw consumers into their online presence to increase brand promotion and overall ROI.
1. Brand Awareness
In regards to this media relationship, some of the most effective campaigns use print as the first stage of exposure in order to drive traffic to the company’s online platforms. Instead of just printing a number or email address, many marketers place social media links, blog excerpts, and personal urls (PURLS) to get consumers from the paper they’re holding in their hand to their phones or computers, before hitting them with a converting CTA.
With the digital world is now full of noise—and filling still, print has regained the advantage of uniqueness and distinction. The tactility of print appeals to more human senses than just the visual and sometimes audible that digital employs. It can therefore be a great tool under the right conditions. That is, it needs to be aesthetically superior, contain a strong message, and a focused call to action that offers something of great value to its audience.
When using direct mail, packaging is a huge factor, but also the lack thereof. Did you know that there are certain things you can ship in the mail without extra packaging? A water bottle for instance, or a Frisbee, a flip-flop, and though it’s not recommended, you can even ship a potato. There are many ways to get creative with your packaging, whether it’s a standard-size envelope of something completely different. Stand out.
2. Deals & Exclusive Content
It cannot be stressed enough, that print ads—just like online ads—need to offer value to a consumer. Offering deals, discounts, and exclusive content that can only be discovered through information on a printed ad can be a powerful conversion tool.
3. Interactive Print Ads
We already talked about how print ads are a great way to introduce your brand to consumers, but they need to support and drive traffic to your online marketing campaigns. There are many different ways to do this, but here are a few trends that have proven to be very effective in accomplishing this.
A QR code is a matrix barcode, readable to electronic devices like tablets and smartphones, that can be printed on paper and other materials. It’s probably the oldest form of digitally-interactive print ad resources, but it still works today.
Personalized URLs (known as PURLS)
PURLS are unique URLs linked to landing pages that are designed for targeted audiences. PURL marketing has really picked up speed the last few years due to its low cost and its implementation possibilities with multi channel marketing. There are different PURL marketing software and services out there designed to help users integrate the technique into their multi channel marketing campaigns and track and analyze data captured from it.
Clickable Paper is a relatively new solution to interactive print. It uses image recognition software that connects printed material to online content via smartphone or tablet. Consumers can hold their phone over a print ad or magazine and the linked online content will appear at their fingertips.
Its new, it’s clever, it’s fun, and it’s very effective in driving direct mail recipients to online content.
These are only a few options and there are many other effective tactics that are being employed today connect technology and print on a more integrated level, and we’ll certainly see more unique solutions to this as the future of marketing continues to unfold.
4. Selfie Bait
A few years ago, Indiana University sent out their acceptance letters in envelopes that were a bold red and had #IUsaidYes in bold lettering across the front. It started a selfie campaign that went viral. Students from all over posted selfies with their acceptance-letter envelopes all over social media.
People love to feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves—teams, organizations, causes, etc. Designing a print marketing campaign around a simple, but catchy slogan or idea can go viral over social media under the right conditions.
5. Sheer Creativity
There are many tried and true methods of print media marketing that you can be safe incorporating, but there is no replacement for sheer creativity. A truly unique use of something typical can be quite extraordinary and it will stick with people. Here are a few examples of marketing campaigns that used true originality of print in their brand promotions that will inspire you to explore your creativity in print marketing as well.