The consistent rise of Internet sales and the options for e-marketing have caused some to discuss if print is on the way out. Recent research demonstrates that marketing is definitely changing, but that traditional marketing channels like print remain highly valuable in the marketing mix.
Key to maximising the options available would be through employing a ‘multichannel’ approach, using a mixture of traditional and online channels. This needs to be planned and considered so that the different channels provide information that is not repetitive, while being consistent to a combined message. You need to avoid a ‘copy-paste’ approach from leaflet to Facebook but you don’t want your customers to be piecing together the information from each channel like a jigsaw!
“Nowadays, traditional printed material such as books, brochures and magazines frequently direct readers to other digital media to supplement their experience with sound or moving image or to take them to an Internet retail platform.” Duncan MacOwen, FESPA.
This is a great approach and adds depth to your marketing message. You can be selective with the information in the printed materials, making them more visual, grabbing the reader’s attention. This can then direct them to your website for details, where they also have the call to action to place an order or contact your sales team for a bespoke quote.
ParentHub recently ordered some A5 brochures that introduce their new mobile app. The brochure is aimed at head teachers and outlines the benefit the app brings to schools. The brochure then displays contact information at the back, including the twitter handle.
The Twitter page has an animated video, adding additional content from their YouTube channel. The video is more aimed at parents, which helps ParentHub attract interest from the end user as well as the customer (the app is free for parents but schools need to subscribe for the service to be active).
Ronald Busse, Lecturer at the Business School of Fresenius University of Applied Science, discussed recent research into multichannel marketing. He pointed out that customers now switch between channels, perhaps making initial contact in store but buying online or vice versa. For this reason, employing a multichannel approach is incredibly important.
The knitting yarn company, Baa Ram Ewe, have their yarn labels printed with a QR code on the inside. The text to the side offers free pattern links and special offers to those that sign up on the website. This allows measurability of the impact printed materials have, an increased customer database and directs customers to an additional purchase point all in one go.
Of course, there is evidence to suggest a difference in how appropriate some marketing channels are depending on the product category. Products and services fall on a spectrum of attributes and these vary depending on the needs of the individual consumer. When looking for a new car for example, some people will be more concerned with fuel consumption than leather trim. According to Yale Marketing Professors, Dhar & Wertenbroch, consumers map these features and separate products based on their utilitarian or hedonic nature.
Kushwaha & Shankar, Professors of Marketing at University of North Carolina and Taxes A&M University respectively, used extensive quantitative research to explore utilitarian and hedonic product marketing. They discovered that utilitarian products such as gardening tools, are better suited to traditional channels like printed brochures and leaflets. Hedonistic products, luxury items such as toys, sports cars or beauty products, are better suited to a multichannel approach as people spend more time considering and investigating the options.
Both categories required printed materials as part of the marketing mix but the way these are designed would differ given their placement with the other marketing channels used. Ox-on use these A5 product brochures to supplement in-store displays with details of the features and benefits through their range of gardening gloves.
If you’re a hedonistic retailer, you could use A7 gift or loyalty cards alongside in-store promotional posters to encourage repeat business or online registration. These could also be included inside the packaging for online sales to boost likes on social media platforms or blog sign-ups.
The marketing mix is always going to be unique to an organisation when planned thoroughly. Product or service specification, target audience and brand positioning will dramatically influence the channels that an organisation chooses for promotion. Research demonstrates that printed marketing materials enhance the image of a brand as digital channels are frequently ignored when used in isolation.
As we have looked at above, there are a variety of ways you can promote your goods and services. Creating successful print marketing that works together with digital options like email campaigns or an online advert is a great way to maximise the available channels. This will ensure you present your organisation professionally and cement your brand identity.
Busse, R. (2015) Marketing Channel Integration – A Review of Current Debates. Advances in Management. Vol. 8 p13-16
Dhar, R. and Wertenbroch, K. (2000) Consumer Choice Between Hedonic and Utilitarian Goods. Journal of Marketing Research. Vol XXXVII p60-71.
Kushwaha, T. and Shankar, V. (2013) Are Multichannel Customers Really More Valuable? The Moderating Role of Product Category Characteristics. Journal of Marketing. Vol 77, p67-85.