Are you a marketer who regularly uses direct mail?
Here at Structural Graphics, we’re big proponents of print marketing and have applauded its ability to generate feedback, loyalty and, ultimately, sales. However, if you’re not using it properly, these pieces – and leads – can end up in the garbage.
To help you better succeed with your direct mail campaigns, we’ve compiled this list of common blunders that can hinder your prospects.
An unclear message: Does your headline match your CTA? Do your graphics tie into your angle or story line? Is your copy clear, concise and appropriate for your audience?
Wrong audience: Do your research beforehand. Consider not only the age, location and interests of your target demographic, but also the appropriate time of year to contact them. For instance, tax season may not be the appropriate time to contact small business owners, and members of a senior housing community likely won’t respond to real estate marketing.
Being too self-indulgent: There’s a delicate balance between asserting your strengths and overindulging in them. Recipients don’t want front row tickets to the “Me Show”; they care about “What’s in it for me?” Great marketing always focuses on the recipients, not the business or agent reaching out. Highlight your brand’s value by showing how your product or service can help change people’s lives, making them easier or more fulfilling.
No contact info: Print or digital, your marketing should always have the first and last name of someone for the recipient to contact. This simple touch point creates a connection between the consumer and your business, and saves them the hassle of having to go looking for someone to reach out to.
As any good marketer knows, first impressions are everything.
So, when a prospective client visits your website, glances at your portfolio and determines whether or not they will hire you, you better make sure your product photography is on point.
Product photography is so important for countless reasons. Not only can it stimulate a general need for your product, but it also showcases its usefulness, significant features and quality. Following these six basic tips will help you to master both the technique and artistry of product photography – and ensure that you never lose a lead because of it.
1) Follow the light. Finding a good source of light is essential when it comes to photographing your products. To avoid adding unnecessary shadows to your image, keep things simple: shoot in a well-lit area, use natural light when possible and be mindful of objects like clouds that may cast unnecessary darkness.
2) Choose the right backdrop. Use your background to complement your product, not distract from it. When just starting out, opt for a simple, single-color backdrop. The purpose here is to let your product be the center of attention.
3) Consider the human element. Using models may or may not be useful for you, depending on what you are trying to sell/ photograph. Perhaps you are a jewelry company looking to promote your new selection of necklaces. Or maybe you’re looking to mentor young students. Evaluate whether or not a persona will be able to show the value of your product and effectively tell the story of your brand.
4) Show scale. Give your audience a sense of how big or small your product is. By placing the product next to a common object, you can showcase a point of difference or feature how easy it is to use.
5) Play with focus. No one wants to look at a gallery of static images. To create a more dynamic spread, consider honing in on the key points of your product and pulling it forward from the background using your camera’s focus. This is a great way to highlight the quality of your product as well as its usefulness, especially if you’re looking to compare your products with a competitor’s.
6) Tell a story. It may seem silly to think that a product photo can tell a story, but keeping this in the back of your mind will take your images from good to great. Instead of photographing your product in front of a white background, consider capturing it in use. Place it in its natural environment. Or capture someone’s reaction to it. There are countless ways to set your images, and thus your product, apart by creating or playing into the emotions of your audience.
Many of us grew up in small towns or small close-knit communities. In those everyone-knows-everyone towns, familiarity was the currency of business. When you walked into a store, you were greeted by name (and often asked how your family was doing). Shopping lists were kept on file. If Mrs. Moretti’s son was caught cutting class, you could be sure his mother would hear about it from one of the shopkeepers.
But, today, as corporations and communities seem to be getting less personal, there are a few companies looking to revive this small-town feeling — and infuse it into their business.
Across industries, global marketers are tapping into the psychology of personal branding and the benefits it offers when trying to reach consumers. This year, alone, companies like Coca-Cola, Snickers, Lays and Budweiser have all tinkered with adding song lyrics, team logos, names in an effort to forge a deeper connection with their customers. It’s as if they’re trying to say, “We ‘get’ you.”
According to a report by Responsys, 61 percent of U.S. customers feel more positive about a brand with a personalized message. And to millennials, who have overtaken Baby Boomers as the largest living generation, this couldn’t be more apparent. Instead of blindly supporting trendy companies, they’re looking for products and services that specifically fit THEM.
“I want to buy something that’s my style, that someone looks at and says, ‘Wow! That’s perfect for Elizabeth’. I want my brands to say something about me, so that I am proud to say I use them.” – Ideastogo.com
It worked for Nike, which allows customers to design their own sneakers, and for Coca-Cola, too. After wrapping up its “Share a Coke” campaign in September, the company reported a 2.5 percent gain in sales, which they’ve attributed to the customized cans. For Snickers, the launch of their “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign, meant swapping their logo for 21 different symptoms people experience when they’re hungry. In its first full year, the campaign helped increase global sales of Snickers by 15.9% and grew market share in 56 of the 58 markets in which it ran.
And this idea isn’t lost on us, either. Here, at Structural Graphics, we’re constantly looking for ways to improve how print can help businesses connect with their audiences in a personal way. We design amazing print pieces with video that allow you to share a reel, recruitment video or a personalized message. Furthermore, our virtual reality viewers are making things very personal and can be customized to fit your business’ needs.
The currency of business today is to be relevant, targeted and, of course, personal.
Feeling insanely creative? Give us a call at 860-767-2661 or shoot us an email. Together we can make your marketing really pop.
There are a lot of oooh’s and ahhh’s around virtual reality, and that’s because it’s one of the most cutting edge technologies out there today. If you’re in the pharma industry, you might be wondering, “OK, I want to take my company or prescription to the next level.” But how?
“Here are a few ways to use VR technology to promote awareness of your brand in a totally unique way:
Build Empathy: If your product treats a condition with significant sensory effects, such as Parkinson’s or chronic migraines, you can use VR at conferences to let clinicians “feel” what it’s like to actually be a patient with that condition—feel their hands shake, see their vision become distorted as a migraine aura takes hold. Clinicians can get so caught up in the science of various diseases, so distracted by the seemingly endless paperwork demanded by insurance companies, that it’s sometimes easy for them to lose sight of why they became doctors in the first place. VR can help them get back in touch with that altruism and empathy in a truly impactful way. Brand messages then reach a much more engaged target.
Facilitate Training: Is your product a medical device, a complex stent, for example? Let clinicians experience—without fear of failure—how it feels to use the device, and the audience for your brand message will be all ears.
Bring Science to Life: Mechanism of Action animations are nothing new, but to experience “being” in the bloodstream, penetrate a cell wall to deliver healing medicine—that type of immersive MOA has real punch. At a recent American College of Cardiology annual meeting, Boehringer Ingelheim offered attendees a VR experience exploring the mechanism-of-action behind a new pharmaceutical agent. The MOA demo, developed by VR experts Confideo Labs, drew long lines at the BI booth.”
Looking to incorporate virtual reality into your next campaign? Visit our virtual reality page, and scroll down to the bottom of the page to request a free sample.
Is virtual reality really the next major marketing trend?
Well, before you answer that question, consider this: Brands like McDonald’s, GE and Samsung have already adopted this technology. Facebook and YouTube already allow users to view 360-degree videos by utilizing the gyroscope on their mobile devices. Roughly $4 billion have already been invested in start-ups working on virtual reality, while studies have shown that VR, if embraced by the public, could reach upwards of $126 billion in revenues by 2020.
Judging by those stats (as well as this, this and this), the hype and expectations for virtual reality in 2016 couldn’t be higher. But how can brands use VR in their own marketing outreach in a creative yet cost-effective way?
With our SleekPeeks, we set out to solve that very problem. The introduction of inexpensive VR headsets has made it possible for brands to deliver the ultimate interactive experience to consumers, allowing them to literally walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. These fully customizable viewers ship flat and take seconds to assemble.
Clients have already included them in a magazine as part of their ad, sent them in the mail alongside a promotion and used them as handouts at trade shows.
But, while it may be tempting to incorporate VR into every future project, it’s still essential to make sure your marketing aligns naturally with your strategic brand objectives.
When that’s the case, we recommend using VR to:
Virtual reality, at its best, is a truly transformative experience. Not only can it create an interactive, hands-on environment to showcase your products, but it’s also an exciting, albeit challenging, way to interact with your consumers.
Need to reach your audience? Contact us to see how you can incorporate VR into your next promotional piece.
Ever wonder why women want diamonds for engagement rings? Or the man behind Marlboro? So did we — so we did a little research. Brace yourself folks, for a blast from the past (minus the shag rugs and parachute pants) while we take a look at ads throughout history.
The goal of an advertisement is not to make you buy things right in that moment, the goal is however, to make an impression.
If you wear an engagement ring, or have ever bought one, it is because of the influence of an advertisement. We think that we are supposed to buy a diamond ring because it is a tradition — well, that’s because it is. However, this tradition didn’t start until the late nineteen-forties, and it all began with a jewelry ad.
In 1948, De Beers Jewelry released an ad campaign called, “Diamonds are Forever. Believe it or not, before this ad campaign, engagement rings were a very rare thing — and De Beers changed that. By infusing the romantic notion of an engagement, and the eternity that comes with one of the strongest substances on earth, they convinced both men and women that a diamond ring was a necessity to an engagement. Today, engagement rings are a global, multi-billion dollar industry.
Volkswagen is another big name when it comes to “paving the road” of advertising.
Today, we see VW Beatles all over the road. In 1939, the original Volkswagen Beatle was released, but because of it’s German engineering, it was not appealing to Americans. This all changed in 1959 when Volkswagen released their “Think Small” campaign. Old advertisements typically had the same approach: a cookie cutter style to show customers that a product was “the best.” That is, until the “Think Small” campaign. For the first time, humor was introduced to advertisements. Volkswagen highlighted the flaws of The Beatle, and used it to their advantage to bring out what was so great about the car. Today, the ad campaign is considered the top campaign in the advertising world.
For some (not all) unmarried women, there is a looming fear: “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” Ever wonder where that saying came from? Well, in 1924, Listerine first released the line, “Often a bridesmaid, but never a bride,” in an advertisement for bad breath. The quote was basically saying, if you use Listerine products you have a better shot of getting a husband (side note: buy Listerine). Since the ad was released, the phrase has stuck with single women.
Another “killer” billion dollar industry: cigarette companies. The cigarette industry often gets a bad rap (for obvious reasons — general PSA: don’t smoke), but one campaign done by Marlboro is considered the third top advertisement campaign in history.
In 1955, the “Marlboro Man” made his first appearance. Today, when anything is portrayed as masculine or feminine, younger generations find it humorous. The Marlboro Man, however, was incredibly successful. The Marlboro campaign was geared towards men, saying that smoking was a masculine thing to do. Within two years of its release Marlboro, sales spiked 300%.
So, even though you might not buy the newest phone every other month, the world around you is continually being shaped by advertisements. At Structural Graphics we want to help businesses build an image that will be part of the next big culture change. Take a peek at some of our classics — let’s make history together.
Whirlpool’s 360-degree approach to marketing, incorporating web, TV and print, has made it’s brand presence more relevant and attractive to consumers in the home appliance marketplace. Continue reading →
“The details are not the details. They make the design.” – Charles Eames, American graphic designer
Structural Graphics takes a special interest in what retail consumers want to see on product packaging, so when we came across Deborah Ginsburg’s article, “Top Packaging Design Trends for 2015” we perked up, eager to see what insights the founder and CEO of Strategia Design had to offer. Turns out, we couldn’t agree more. Continue reading →
Margie Dana — author of three books on printing and print buying and an industry veteran with more than 15 years of experience — recently chatted with Structural Graphics to help inform our audience about different ways marketers can extend their brand’s influence through integrated print campaigns. Continue reading →