QR Codes: The Opportunities for Printers

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Quick Response (QR) codes continue to generate a lot of buzz in our industry. In talking with printers over the last few months I’ve come to the conclusion that in our excitement to make use of their marketing potential, many straightforward QR code opportunities are being overlooked. Here are some that come to mind:

  • QR codes are the bridge that links the printed piece to the Internet. That capability alone is an easy way to get clients thinking about redoing existing sell sheets, marketing collateral, corporate brochures, etc. There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit out there. Start picking!
  • QR codes can contain static and dynamic URLs; launch YouTube videos (think product demos); include contact info (think business cards); highlight event dates; and even deliver text messages.
  • QR codes are simple to explain, have a “wow!” element, and require no significant expense. Those attributes are the perfect ingredients for a great in-person sales call.
  • QR codes give printers an opportunity to show how they’re staying abreast of the latest trends and technologies. Customers seek that assurance. That combination makes them a powerful branding opportunity.
  • QR codes are a highly effective way to increase direct marketing results and are rapidly gaining exposure. A national furniture chain had one in its flyer last week. If you’re the first to talk about them with clients, you’ll be seen as a leader.
  • QR codes offer a reason for a sales call, a customer education event, webinar, etc.

These ideas are just scratching the surface. But at a time when print sales are harder to come by, QR codes offer the opportunity for sales people to CREATE low-hanging fruit and foster their brand at the same time. I’m happy to discuss this with anyone.

Some things to ponder as the fall selling season quickly approaches

With many printing companies cutting back on sales and marketing efforts, going out of business, merging, having layoffs, etc, there’s a tremendous opportunity for companies to win new business and build loyalty with existing clients. But you have to be positioned to take advantage.

Start building and strengthening sales relationships today by utilizing meaningful content. Outbound communications such as newsletters and postcards, social media outlets like Linkedin, and inbound strategies that utilize web content are all highly effective ways to increase sales success.

  • If repetition isn’t at the core of your marketing communications strategy, your efforts will fail.
  • Too many organizations get bogged down by taking a committee approach to producing marketing materials. Trying to create something perfect often becomes an excuse for doing nothing.
  • The average person can only keep 3-5 brands per category in memory. If you want to introduce your brand for consideration, another must be pushed out of consideration.
  • It takes at least 5-8 points of meaningful communication to convert a prospect to a customer.
  • Develop a series of informative touch points and deliver them to your contact list in a repetitive manner. The good news is that most CRM and contact management programs can easily facilitate a strategy of repetitive communications.

I’ve been providing offset and digital printing companies with highly effective marketing programs for over 15 years. Our programs are customizable and area exclusive. I’m happy to provide samples of our various newsletter programs based on their availability.

Why Use Customer Communications?

The following was excerpted from an article by Customer Communications Group. With the exploding adoption of client engagement as a marketing tool these days, I found this article worth repeating.

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:

  • Enhance your relationships with your customers
  • Upsell and cross-sell products and services
  • Retain customers (especially best customers)
  • 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.

Published by Customer Communications Group, Inc., a full-service agency specializing in relationship marketing and customer communications. Our comprehensive, turnkey services include data analysis, customer segmentation, strategic consulting, account management, creative execution, print production and multimedia solutions. © 2002 Customer Communications Group, Inc.

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!”