Tag Archives: marketing

3 Ways to Engage Customers in Your Brand’s Marketing Strategy

If you’re doing a good job supporting your clients, they’ll become your best (perhaps presently untapped) marketing resource for your business. Research shows that prospects are more likely to take action on or interact with your brand when they hear about someone else’s experience with your products or services than if they were to only hear a sales pitch from you or one of your sales agents.

Clearly, things like testimonials and case studies can go a long way when it comes to marketing your business. However, how can one harness all the great stories, experiences and, overall, customer feedback? Here are a few ideas.

Narrow Your Social Listening

We all love seeing the photos customers post of our products on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. So, why not use those to your advantage? By creating a unique hashtag or searching for a specific location or product name, your social listening will be much more targeted and allow you to cultivate added content to use across your own channels. Not only does this translate to better brand loyalty, but it also encourages other customers to post their own images, casting a wider marketing net for you.

Experiment with CrowdSourcing

Looking to implement a new tagline, logo or packaging? Ask your customers what they think first. A great way to make customers and clients feel valued is to engage them in your marketing efforts, involving them in decisions they can be proud of. Maybe it’s as simple as a survey that’s sent in the mail; maybe it’s a single tweet. With Instagram’s new question feature and platforms that allow you to answer questions and get feedback in real-time, there’s never been an easier time to help your audience feel a sense of ownership to your brand (plus you’ll get great insights).

Turn Customers into Advocates.

Here’s the thing: customers and clients are already talking about you, whether you like it or not. Research suggests that we still give substantial weight to the recommendations of our friends and peers, so, why not give those with positive experiences an opportunity to share them? To get started, why not invite them to do “takeovers” of your social media accounts, present at an event, or review products on their own YouTube channels. Word-of-mouth marketing will validate your brand’s credibility and turn your most loyal fans into advocates of your business.

How to Drive Increased Marketing Results with Video in Print Advertising

You’ve heard it from us before: Video in Print delivers a powerful multi-sensory experience. Because Video in Print Advertising combines the added context and tactile engagement of print with the compelling motion and sound of video, it’s no wonder more and more marketers are using it to sell products and build trust with their customer base.

After all, as Seth Godin once said, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but the stories you tell.” So, why not make sure you’re telling the right one?

Consider these stats:

The top three most effective types of video content are: customer testimonials (51%); tutorial videos (50%) and demonstration videos (49%).Curata
Consider this a cheat sheet. Though video storytelling can be done in many ways, it’s important to be creative and allow your community of viewers, clients and potential customers to be a part of your brand’s story. Instead of giving them what you think they want, create video content that you know they will enjoy while still remaining true to your company and its values.

Companies who have integrated video into their marketing efforts enjoy 41% more web traffic from search than non-video users.SmallBizTrends
It’s not enough to create a video and post it to the web or include it in a Video in Print brochure. You have to nurture it. In marketing, where it’s historically difficult to track the success of campaigns, why not lead your audience to a specific landing page or encourage a clear call-to-action? Prioritize metadata, make sure to include appropriate tags and create enticing titles, too. Now, that’s a recipe for success.

Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it via text.Wirebuzz
We all know two things are generally better than one. But how about three? With Video in Print brochures, you’re engaging people’s sense of sight as well as their sense of touch and sound, giving them multiple touch-points and ways to engage with your brand.

90% of decision-makers say that product videos are helpful when deciding to purchase a product.Hubspot
Aside from reading reviews from other users on a specific company or product you’re looking to buy, people typically search for a related video. As consumers, people are interested in how a product works, how it looks or how it will make their lives easier.

5% of viewers will stop watching a video after 1 minute and 60% will stop watching after 2.Video Guru
The golden rule in video marketing: short and simple seals the deal (just don’t forget the Call to Action).

Clearly, using video has become a staple in marketing tactics. And, when it’s paired with a high-impact printed direct mail piece, it has double the impact. But, wait, what’s that? You aren’t implementing video yet? You want to expand the reach of your current video marketing efforts? Click here to get in touch.

In the meantime, take a look at our Video in Print offering on Structural Graphics and download our online ordering division, Red Paper Plane’s full Video in Print Catalog. With Video and Print combined, the possibilities are endless!

3 Simple Ways to Ensure Your Direct Mail Doesn’t Get Tossed

It’s a common scenario: after months of strategizing and laboring over copy or designs, your direct mail piece is ready to be shipped. But when you drop it off at the post office, it can feel like you’re throwing all that hard work into a black hole; from there you have no control over how recipients respond to it, if they respond.

Know the feeling?

Well, it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead of worrying whether your promo code will reach the right people or if the intended recipients will even open your mail piece, use these few simple tricks to make sure your marketing reaches the right people at the right time:

  1. Clean Up Your Mailing List. It doesn’t matter how great your copy is if you’re sending mail to the wrong people or to the wrong address (this goes for email distribution, too). If you’re using an incorrect or outdated mailing list, your mail has limited hope of landing in the mailbox you intended for it to. Instead, start with an accurate, updated distribution list. Perhaps that means scrubbing your current mailing list for duplicates, deleting any addresses that have been marked “return to sender” or removing anyone who hasn’t interacted with your communications in awhile. Whatever you do, ensure that you’re getting your contact information from a reliable source.
    Making sure your list is clean and correct not only guarantees that your mail will be delivered to the people you want it to go to, but it also eliminates the need to overspend on postage, printing, packaging and more.
  2. Pick Your Moment. Now that you’ve updated and scrubbed your mailing list, you have to choose the appropriate time to send your direct mail piece. Does it include a promotion that’s good for a limited time? Is there an urgency or a seasonality to what you’re trying to sell? This blog post goes into more detail on the best times of year to send various marketing pieces and the strategy behind doing so. The idea here is the make sure you’re targeting the right people with your marketing and provide value to them with your mail. 
  3. Capture Their Attention. When it comes to marketing, this is more easily said than done. Once your mail makes it in the hands of your target audience, the next crucial step is to make sure they’ll open it and see what you’re trying to communicate. Dimensional print is a great option for this. The pieces ship flat, but spring to life once they’re opened. A few of our favorite designs are the Flapper®, which constantly unfolds into itself, the Extendo®, which reveals hidden panels that triples the size of your marketing message, our SleekPeeks® Virtual Reality Viewers that showcase immersive experiences for your target audience, and the classic Pop Up Cube that automatically and unexpectedly pops into fully dimensional shape once removed from its envelope. 

Let’s Get ‘Phygital’

Print and digital. Digital and print.

These two forms of marketing, once separate, are now (combined) the key to what could be a powerful integrated marketing strategy, especially as postal rates and paper costs continue to drive up companies’ budgets. While it’s instinctive that organizations looking to slash operational spend decrease print and postage costs, print is still preferred by 60 percent of customers.

How do you find perfect harmony between managing rising print and mail costs while still maintaining an excellent experience for the consumer?

The answer, according to Matt Swain from Broadridge, is choice.

He posits in this article that organizations are “in a position to create a more strategic alignment between their print and digital communications” by going “phygital” – combining print with digital.

 

As businesses look more favorably at incorporating integrated marketing campaigns into their strategic plans, many are redesigning their print communications in order for them to complement their digital counterparts. Part of this move includes bridging the gap with technology.

QR, AR, VR and more allow businesses to introduce themselves and their products in a “paperless” way. We’re seeing these technologies drive customer engagement and strengthen customer-business relationships. Plus, the use of this technology may qualify your business for an upfront 2 percent USPS postage promotion discount that is in effect for 2019. Not to mention, combined with a high-impact dimensional printed format, the engagement level of each marketing campaign which includes these technologies increases.

Structural Graphics & Sister Company, The Lift Factor, Take Home Top GDUSA Awards

Who designed the most innovative packaging of 2018? Graphic Design USA, the leading B2B resource for graphic design professionals, answered that question this month with the announcement of the winners of the 2019 GDUSA American Package Design Awards.

More than 1,000 marketers, designers and printers were challenged as never before to promote their brand in a way that would forge an emotional link with their customers. Out of those entrants, Structural Graphics took home two accolades: winner in the Luxury Packaging Category for Creata Kellogg’s Jurassic World Promotional Video Box and winner in the Food and Beverage Category for the GSD&M Popeyes Emotional Support Chicken Box.

Structural Graphics’ insurance marketing sister company, The Lift Factor, is also a winner in the Luxury Packaging Category for the Brighthouse Planter Mailer.

How Does Print Marketing Affect the Brain?

Did you know that our brains process physical and digital media very differently?

According to this study commissioned by the USPS in 2015, physical content seems to leave a longer lasting impression than digital ones. While the average consumer processes digital ad content faster, we spend more time with physical ads, remembering them longer and showing stronger emotional responses to them.

“Physical ads, though slower to get one’s attention at first exposure, leave a longer lasting impact for easy recall when making a purchase decision. Most importantly, physical ads triggered activity in the area of the brain (ventral striatum) that is responsible for value and desirability for featured products, which can signal a greater intent to purchase.”

Then there’s the notion of tactile content for the development of psychological ownership, a state of mind that leads people to value objects they physically handle more highly than those they haven’t touched. Physically holding and manipulating a piece of print content has some of the same positive psychological effects as experiential and in-person marketing initiatives.

For marketers, these findings have practical implications.

“From a marketer’s perspective, it’s essential to always view your position to the customer as extending beyond immediate transactional value and establish a complex set of relationship-based connections that will drive future growth.” – Nicola Brown, Skyword.com

This information can help companies of all sizes and across all industries optimize their advertising dollars, especially small businesses which are often faced with limited marketing budgets. For those consumers who are short on time, the digital format captures attention longer. However, if the goal is to have a longer lasting impact and easy recollection, print is the way to go. It also seems to increase our sense of trust and level of understanding and enjoyment.

Independent research company Toluna found that US consumers of all ages believe print content is more trustworthy than digital, with 59% of survey responders not trusting advertisements they view online. 71% of people surveyed stated they “don’t pay attention to advertisements online”, while 63% read the direct mail sent to their homes at least once a week. Direct mail is certainly seeing a resurgence in Marketing, and consumers have shown that it is here to stay.

Think Outside the (In)Box: 5 Print Trends to Take Advantage Of

Where did January go?

As we continue to execute our 2019 marketing promotions and campaigns, there is no better time to revisit (and rethink!) your business’ print communications. Is your collateral giving people what they want? Does your team have clear priorities spelled out from the beginning?

If you answered “no” to either of these questions, keep reading for some tips on how you can ensure your brand communications aren’t missing any opportunities for business.

  1. Plan, plan plan. Is your warehouse overflowing with inventory? Or maybe you’re nervous to try dimensional print because of the barriers to entry? It helps to have a clear plan. By starting with the end in mind, you’ll be able to print only what your team needs, thus reducing inventory, waste and long-term costs.
  2. Get physical. Provide your customers with an immersive and interactive experience when they open your direct mail piece, invitation or campus flyer. More and more, the printing industry is getting increasingly creative with everything from packaging techniques to Virtual Reality. Cut through the noise of overflowing inboxes and standard postcard mailers to not only capture your customers’ attention, but their hearts, too. 
  3. Don’t ignore the double dippers. These are the folks who receive both paper and digital communications. Statistically, many of these consumers are younger and, though they’re the most likely to go paperless eventually, are still open to the idea of receiving hard copies and snail mail. Take advantage of this market.
  4. Convenience is key. According to a poll by Keypoint Intelligence-Info Trends, customers said the best way for marketers to improve their print communications is to make them easier to understand. Instead of worrying about providing customers with every detail about your business, consider streamlining your marketing and focusing on one single “story” per piece. Not only does this cut out unnecessary detail, but it also makes your marketing easier to digest. Oh, and please, please remember to include a clear call to action.
  5. Prioritize, then execute. Perhaps a complete overhaul of your marketing strategy is in order, or maybe it just needs a fresh pair of eyes. Whatever the case, re-positioning your brand strategy allows businesses to start from scratch and execute on your priorities. How do you want customers to feel when they see your marketing communications? What action should they take after receiving it? These are all great questions to ask yourself and your team (if you’re not doing so already). They’ll encourage you to set clear goals for the year and inspire more detailed, thoughtful game plans to achieve them.

Can Seasons Affect Your Business’ Direct Mail Responses? We Think So.

Here in New England, we eat, sleep and do business based on the seasons. But many marketers, specifically those who utilize direct mail, tend to focus so much on the whats and whos of their strategy, and lose sight of when to actually send their pieces.

Do you know what time of year is best for your company to send mailings? If you’re in an industry like retail or travel, then maybe. However, if you’re operating in a space like manufacturing, commodity or design, you might not. What’s more, do you know those weeks or months – when your response rates plummet – to avoid?

Here’s an example: Financial planners get the worst response rates during November and December, when many people are spending time with their loved ones to celebrate the holidays. Other days, like Memorial Day, Labor Day and Independence Day are also notoriously low for response rates. January, though, is just the opposite. While individuals are evaluating their finances and planning for the year ahead, the first quarter of the year is generally best for CFPs to remind clients that they’re a valuable resource.

Similarly, the holidays may be a perfect time for retailers to target consumers looking to purchase food, clothing or toys for their families, friends and mailpersons. By mailing at just the right times, we’re able to make the best use out of our direct mail pieces and provide the most valuable to those receiving them.

Experiment with small mailings and compare your business’ response rates over time. In weeks or months, you’ll be able to identify the appropriate cadence for your mailings and be efficient with your advertising budget at the same time!

Popeyes is Offering Emotional Support (Chicken) this Holiday Season

A common topic of discussion in the news lately has surrounded the idea of allowing animals on airplanes to provide emotional support for travelers during the holiday season, as well as the restrictions for the types of animals that should be allowed. When GSD&M, Austin, TX had a buzz-worthy idea and design for a campaign for their client, Popeyes, to get holiday travelers talking (or should we say “squawking”) they contacted Blanks Printing, & Digital Solutions and the design and assembly teams at Structural Graphics to help bring this project to life!

The solution? “Emotional Support [Fried] Chicken”. For a limited time, those travelling in Terminal C of the Philadelphia Airport during the 2018 holiday season can now pick up the box which contains a 3-piece Chicken Tender combo meal from Popeyes.  Why the Philadelphia airport? Because it was named one of the most stressful airports in the United States.

“We know holiday travel can be frustrating, and there’s no better way to ease stress than with a box of delicious Popeyes fried chicken and a good laugh. We appreciate how comforting emotional support animals are and wanted to create our own version,” stated Popeyes CMO, Hope Diaz via news release.

The best part is, Popeyes is guaranteeing that their Emotional Support Chicken is “permitted to fly without any restrictions”, helping ease some of the worries for those crazed travelers this holiday season.

Blanks Printing & Digital Solutions, Dallas, TX printed this project on the new HP 12000 Digital press. Structural Graphics proudly engineered the design for function, created several rounds of full color test prototypes, and then hand assembled for the launch in the Philadelphia airport on Tuesday, December 18th.

How to Create Higher Ed. Marketing that Works

Statistics show that high school and college-aged students like direct mail. Our direct mail is dimensional, interactive and engaging. With other colleges and universities soliciting the same top-prospect students that you are, direct mail from Red Paper Plane and Structural Graphics will make sure your message gets noticed and stays top-of-mind.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

UC Riverside chose this dimensional folder to send out information about its different colleges to accepted students. The piece starts off as a seemingly flat printed folder, but when you open it up, an intricate pop-up immediately rises from the center. Each corner of the piece featured individual mini folders, each containing step-by-step instructions on how to get started with enrollment.

Our flat-cube is one of our most dynamic and exciting designs because of its ability to immediately make an impact with recipients. This one was used by SUNY Adirondack Community College to send information about its college to prospective students. The cube immediately pops up when you remove it from the mail sleeve.

University of Canterbury used our Flapper to recruit students to its school and to promote its Product Design program. They chose the tablet-sized Flapper and displayed their information in a portrait layout. The inside of the colorful Flapper featured bright graphics that represented the key aspects of its product design program.

This clever Extendo mailer went out to prospective MBA students from the Georgia State University J. Mack Robinson College of Business. When you pull on one of the sides, the other sides pops out automatically – revealing a series of business jackets, each detailing one of the 4 MBA programs and 18 specialized master’s programs.

Rutgers School of Business used the Exploding Page design to deliver information about its business program to prospective students. The self-mailer appears to be a standard looking direct mail piece on the outside, but when opened up, it expands to twice its original size. The inside of the mailer contained information about the different programs offered by this prestigious school.

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