You know the old adage, “out with the old, in with the new.” What about the phrase, “print is dead”? In today’s ultra-connected, instant gratifying world, marketers are zoned in on digital channels to reach their audience, whether in connection to marketing materials, collateral or in-store.
It is hard to deny that just about every consumer activity – from reading books, to purchasing apparel, to grocery shopping – has in many ways moved to digital. But consumers’ true behavior is both online and offline. In order to maximize advertising and marketing investments to effectively reach customers and ultimately meet key performance criteria, it’s time for franchises to rethink the old adage and bridge traditional and emerging channels for marketing success.
Start with a Captivating Canvas
An individual’s first impression is made in 100 milliseconds. A printed piece may have better odds, but likely not by much. To really capture consumers’ attention and entice engagement with your brand, start with distinctive printed materials. A captivating canvas is the basis of reaching the eyes and hearts of your audience with a digitally linked message, offer, or call to action. If internal creative capabilities are limited, look for a partner that offers a mix of conceptual design and strategic visioning, and also has the knowledge and experience to manufacture impactful, personalized packages of variable materials on time and on budget.
Create a Gateway to Digital Content
The driving force behind some of the most successful multichannel campaigns is the proliferation of mobile. Consider that in 2014, the United States passed the “mobile tipping point.” In other words, the majority of digital media is now consumed on mobile devices as opposed to computers, according to ComScore. While consumers’ lives are playing out on mobile devices more and more every day, the link between digital and print marketing has become easier with the emergence of technologies such as watermarks, Augmented Reality, image recognition and QR codes. Whether in-store on a menu, sign or brochure, or at home on a piece of direct mail or an advertising insert, these tactics give customers a quick, easy way to connect print with a franchisee’s digital content.
Mobile activated media in printed materials easily connects print campaigns to mobile-friendly content and lets consumers instantly access that content through a smartphone camera. You can feature immediate calls to action, prompt a purchase directly from an ad or launch an educational video – all from the printed page. Mobile activated media is essentially the virtual highway between your print and digital message. Whether it is online coupons, surveys, social sharing sites or Web offers, existing or prospective customers will be directed to your franchise’s online material in a snap. When compelling print captures consumers’ attention and then links those shoppers to more detailed information, they are empowered to make smarter buying decisions. One-click buying also simplifies purchasing and subscriber experiences, in turn, increasing response rates.
Achieve Brand Consistency across the Board
Whether you are a franchisee operating one location or a dozen, your marketing goals are unique to your business, but they must ultimately satisfy the franchisor’s own marketing and financial goals. Retaining strong brand equity – what it is your customers think, feel or tell others – is critical to success. Reaching your target audience with the right message at the right time in an engaging way is a very important component, but consistent, strategic alignment with your franchisor’s voice and positioning will truly enable you to resonate with your customers and capitalize on the brand and your own efforts now and into the future.
One of the keys to success for maintaining strong brand equity is to centralize all branded digital assets. Consolidating multimedia, Internet, print and direct marketing content helps streamline print production, offline and online distribution, and marketing campaigns. Not only does this help maintain brand consistency, but with the proper technology, it also allows for faster repurposing, reduced cycle times and safer sharing. A system such as QConnect, a secure web-based portal from Quad/Graphics, offers franchises in-market customization of print campaigns, all available 24/7 for one or multiple users. The franchisor or franchisee can easily upload and store marketing materials or in-store graphics on a company-branded site, also considered a digital store-front. The print materials can be easily customized, ordered, paid for and shipped. Static print combined with a print-on-demand tool generates meaningful, multichannel campaigns that strengthen customer relationships and build brand equity. Taking it one step further, Quad’s distinct distributive print model enables consistent, high-quality production across multiple locations and faster deployment, speed to market, and overall reduced costs. Overall, marketing objectives are achieved, franchisees experience ease of doing business, and franchisors’ expectations of brand alignment are met.
Franchisees are responsible for multiple business goals and meeting key performance indicators. In order to increase response rates from your marketing efforts, support the power of your personalized, variable printed communications with meaningful digital experiences that enhance your customer relationships and drive results. Transforming print content into engaging online experiences will generate greater ROI, improve efficiencies, and build a stronger brand.
Thomas Sikora is Vice President of Omni-Channel Sales for Quad/Graphics Specialty Print Group. He can be reached at Thomas.Sikora@qg.com.