The world is changing and we have to as well, but we should never (or let anyone else) forget the value and impact of what we do well.
We live in an era dominated by virtual communication, where animated birthday cards, emailed party invitations, and digital newsletters have become the norm. But are these virtual messages as effective as their traditionally printed counterparts?
Science says no.
Who is Your Biggest Competition?
Many of you would say technology is your number one competitor in the market today. Marketers are using email blasts, social media to build brand and webinars to communicate information, provide education and even inspiration. These marketing channels are low cost, can reach broad audiences and offer quick access to market.
The effect has been significant on the print industry. Printers have closed, downsized or tried to reinvent themselves. In response, many print providers are driving costs down by taking less of a profit margin on jobs, limiting production choices and using the least expensive substrates. All this is done in an effort to fight for share of marketing budgets by offering the lowest price possible.
Printers today must accept that marketing has changed forever. Embrace technology and be confident that print is not only relevant but crucial to an effective marketing campaign. Printed materials provide differentiation, permanence and an impact that digital information alone cannot replicate.
Why the Details Matter
A Direct Marketing Association study found that direct mail averages a 4.4% response rate compared to emails 0.12% response rate. The use of tangible printed materials adds haptic perception (engaging the sense of touch) that cannot be provided through electronic communications.
In today’s competitive market, printers face strong price pressure. Often, paper is the default place to cut costs. But before you recommend a less-expensive stock to you customer, consider this: By habitually offering the cheapest solution without question or conversation, you train your customers to shop solely on price.
The remedy to this downward spiral is hiding in plain sight: the material you print on. By offering your client new paper choices, you position yourself as a valued, expert resource. When you recommend a textured, colored or premium stock, you shift the job from acceptable to exceptional.
You need to make the details the differentiator — that’s the best way to hedge against a customer finding cheaper print services. Add value by doing more than the competition, not by dropping your price to get the job.
Give the Customers More Than They Ask For
• Quote what they want but then offer an upgrade — a textured, colored or 100% cotton sheet — to amplify the design.
• Show them a premium paper at the proofing stage and have the estimate ready for the upgrade so they don’t have to wait for the dollar comparison.
• If they choose not to upgrade, tail in a premium paper so you can show them how it would change the look and feel of the piece.
• Add a specialty process for demonstration.
• Suggest that a portion of the run be printed on premium stock to test the efficacy of the change.
None of these solutions involves lowering your margin. When customers experience the difference, they’ll consider those details for the next project — and in turn, see the improvement in business results that come from more effective, memorable printed communication. This circle of positive results will lead to a stronger relationship and business for both you and your customer.