Some Thoughts on Marketing Print

Don’t overpromise and underdeliver. A printer in Ohio promotes PURL campaigns and touts response rates of 25% on its 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 several hours per week 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, but I do post a few each week on our company’s Facebook page.

The Importance of a Unique Selling Proposition

When it comes to getting your message across clearly and succinctly, having a truly unique selling proposition (USP) is critical to your success. Printers absolutely need a USP that lets them stand out from the crowd, differentiate from the competition, and position their company as the go-to resource for the services they offer. Here are some suggestions for articulating your USP:

1. Identify what makes your company unique – Just as the name suggests, a “unique” selling proposition must explain what distinguishes your company or offer. It’s easy if you have a product that’s new to the marketplace, but for most printing companies that isn’t the case. Hence, the first thing to do is define the particular advantages your company has over the competition.

2. Be specific – Generic-sounding claims about customer service or simply being the best are not effective. Start by creating a list of each specific benefit that your company provides. As you review it, one or more unique aspects should emerge and provide the basis for writing a strong, descriptive, specific USP.

3. Keep it short – USPs are not introductory paragraphs. They are generally a phrase or sentence. Don’t ramble. The more concise you are, the better your results will be.

Effective USPs identify the most important benefits of using your services, solve an industry pain point, and (of course) are unique. Once you’ve determined yours, the final step is to integrate the USP(s) into all your marketing collateral and customer communication tools, such as email signatures, social media sites, invoices, etc.

As always, I’m happy to discuss any of the above. Feel free to contact me any time.

Patrick Whelan

10 Musings on Marketing

  • 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.
  • 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 if every 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.
  • People will give business to companies they want to give it to and then after awarding the job, find ways to justify the decision. Price is often an excuse rather than a reason.