My Latest Thoughts on Marketing Print

  • Don’t overpromise and underdeliver. A printer in Ohio promotes PURL campaigns and touts response rates of 25% on their home page. Regardless of how it’s worded, that extraordinary success rate is what people will see, remember and expect. Why set your customers up for disappointment?
  • Extra effort matters. According to Seth Godin, it’s the last 10% of quality that requires the greatest amount of effort.  But it’s also the last 10% that will set your company apart from the competition; the other 90% is the easy part that everyone is doing. A little extra attention to your website, your phone routing system, marketing efforts, etc., will always give you a competitive advantage.
  • Useful content means competitive edge. Too many websites are short on great content and long on “blah.”  Not only does that type of self-promotion significantly impact search engine optimization, it also detracts from any competitive advantages your company may have. Your website must answer one central question: What makes your company unique? I’ll cover this topic more in future issues but for now, the message is simple. Start now (and don’t stop) adding content to your website that will offer value to visitors. Blogs, newsletters, and white papers are great examples.

I spend at least two hours of my day seeking out and reading articles that I think would be of value to the print community. It’s far too much info for me to be writing about in our Marketing Briefs, so I’ve begun posting a few of these each week on our company’s Facebook page. Please follow us if you’d like to read these.

Dialogue Marketing: It’s All About Customer Communications

The following was excerpted from an article by Customer Communications Group.

Why use customer communications? Customer communications CAN impact your bottom line. The case to use customer communications mirrors in many ways the case to invest in relationship marketing. A customer communications strategy may be for you if your objectives are to:

  1. Enhance your relationships with your customers
  2. Upsell and cross-sell products and services
  3. Retain customers (especially best customers)
  4. Build loyalty and advocacy among customers

Build Credibility. Newsletters allow you to build your company’s credibility as an expert by providing customers with educative information.

Convey Information. Got a lot to say? Have plenty of information to share? Customer communications work well if you need to convey complex information about your products or services on an ongoing basis.

Break Through the Clutter. Customer communications can be an excellent tool to break through junk-mail clutter. If it offers valuable information to the customer, rather than just trying to sell products, a newsletter can become something that the customer anticipates, especially when sent frequently and regularly.

Deciding Whether to Seek Help or Go Out of House. Don’t have the resources in-house? Consider taking your project to an agency. Being consistent is the key.

Musings on Marketing Print – Part II

  • More print providers are effectively utilizing social media as part of their marketing mix. Those that do not will be at a competitive disadvantage.
  • Marketing content is now about creating two-way discussions with your audience. Dynamic content on websites helps engage customers and improve SEO. If your website is not as good as those of your top five competitors, you will be at a disadvantage.
  • Many print providers are now promoting the use of QR codes (I’m averaging one free consultation per day!) QR codes can drive new opportunities and are a great way to show that your company is on top of the latest trends and technologies. Customers seek that assurance. Be seen as a leader.
  • Marketing is going mobile, and faster than most of us even want it to. Pay close attention and seek out the opportunities.
  • The use of communications programs as a way to engage customers is no longer a nice to do – it’s a need to do. More than half of my B2B vendors have a vehicle to engage me on a consistent basis. It’s even more prevalent in the B2C market.
  • Don’t discount human emotion and its role in sales relationships. A motivated competitor will often promise your customers better quality, service and price. At the very least, make sure that you communicate with your customers as often as your competitors do. In the end, it will come down to who’s better at building trust and making the customer feel wanted.

As we enter Q2, things seem to slowly be improving. I recently received this feedback from a new client that I wanted to share. I’m happy to discuss our programs and send samples – please feel free to contact me at anytime. Best of luck to all!

“Patrick: Quick update on our first release of the newsletter. I got a call from someone who had given us one job previously. After seeing the newsletter, he said he wants to hire us as his company’s marketing department now because it’s clear we ‘do things first class.’ Please convey our appreciation to your staff – we are delighted!”

Some Musings on Marketing

  • The cost of implementing an effective marketing program is trivial compared to the cost of not implementing one.
  • Taking a committee approach to marketing often ends in failure. A group of people agreeing to disagree combined with diluted accountability rarely produces a positive result.
  • “My many years in the printing industry have taught me that the pursuit of trying to craft the perfect marketing piece often ends up being the reason for doing nothing.” – G. Jacobs
  • The average person is only capable of retaining 3-5 brands per category in their memory. If you want to introduce your company into someone’s consideration, you need to push another company out of consideration. Repetition is fundamental to success.
  • The abandon rate for social media is very high. Beware of creating marketing graveyards.
  • Whether or not you’re marketing to your customers, you can be assured that your competitors are.
  • Don’t discount “little things” like birthday cards and notes of appreciation. Sales relationships are more influenced by emotions than pricing.
  • People will give business to companies they want to give it to and after awarding the job, find ways to justify the decision. Price is often the excuse rather than the reason.
  • Well perceived brands command a price premium of nearly 9% over brands perceived as just average.
  • The most popular way to lose a customer is to lose touch with him or
    her. Industry-specific data indicates that 60% of customer loss is due
    to lack of communication.
  • Irrelevant communications contribute to customer defection and alienation.

If you’re interested in utilizing a highly effective marketing program to help grow your sales, I’m happy to email you some samples and info. It’s easier and less expensive than you probably think.

Patrick T. Whelan
pat@greatreachinc.com



Who Cares About QR Codes Anyway? (Answer: You Should!)

There’s a lot of talk these days about QR (quick response) codes. These are basically two-dimensional barcodes that look like black-and-white puzzles, although some can be produced in color. When they are scanned with a smart phone or other mobile device, they automatically launch a URL containing marketing content.

You might have seen them on billboards, magazine ads, business cards, and even trade show banners where they take readers to a specified website or special offer. If they contain contact information, they act as virtual business cards, allowing the reader to download that contact info directly to their smart phone.

QR codes reap benefits because they do as advertised — provide quick response. There’s no need to remember or write down a URL or enter it in by hand. Just point and scan and a prospect can be taken to the content immediately.

Why should you care? Because QR codes cost little or nothing to produce and they put your company on the leading edge of technology. By offering QR codes, you position yourself as a marketing leader.

QR codes also do something very few marketing techniques can do. They tap into the extremely hard-to-reach Gen X and Gen Y cultures and the mobile professional culture. These are highly coveted consumer groups, and QR codes are being rapidly accepted among them. (Apparently on university campuses, it’s now cool to create t-shirts with QR codes that take people to your Facebook page.)

If your clients are selling into these demographic groups or if they’re marketing to high-technology buyers, it’s time to get on the QR bandwagon.

Once again: Why should you care about QR codes? Because it positions you as a marketing leader, it makes print increasingly relevant, and you need to do it before your competitor does.

If you’d like to learn more about QR codes, interlinkONE is presenting a free webinar on Jan. 15 at 2pm EST (http://ilnk.me/learnQR) or visit QReate & Track.

Things to Consider When Planning For 2010

  • Sales force effectiveness increases by as much as 40% when supported by an effective marketing campaign.
  • The most popular way to lose a customer is to lose touch with him or her. Industry-specific data indicates that 60% of customer loss is due to lack of communication.
  • Every client and prospect should hear from your company at least once every 90 days. Successful marketers shorten this to every 30 days.
  • On average, it now takes nine touch points of communication to build a sales relationship. Most salespeople give up after three.
  • Dollar for dollar, investments in customer retention are five times more profitable than investments in customer acquisition.
  • Direct mail as part of an ongoing customer relationship campaign can reinforce your brand values again and again. Mail builds brands.
  • Readers find newsletters to be more credible than promotional materials. In addition to helping build relationships, they also promote your brand and set your company apart from the competition. Useful, educational, non-sales-focused content is key.
  • Good communications, not pricing, is often the key determinant of a sale.

On behalf of myself and everyone here at Great Reach Communications, I’d like to take this moment to wish all of our clients and our readers a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Prosperous 2010!