Is Print Still an Effective Marketing Tool?

As a member of a marketing team for a franchise brand, your national ad budget supports a marketing mix that may include social media, email, search engines – may be even TV, radio, and podcast advertising – but if it doesn’t include print, it should. We may be biased but judge this statement for yourself based on the performance of traditional print, and the effectiveness of new hybrid products discussed at the end of this article (no skipping ahead!).

Despite dramatic changes in marketing tactics fueled by an ever-expanding mix of media opportunities, print continues to be an effective marketing tool. According to studies published by the US Postal Service[1], direct mail has a similar ROI to social media, and outperforms online display ads and paid search. With an average ROI of 28%, you just can’t ignore direct mail in your multi-channel marketing plans.

Younger decision-makers are also using direct mail to make purchase decisions. In fact, the same USPS study found that 84% of millennials take time to look through their mail, 87% like to receive it, and 77% pay attention to direct mail advertising. Going along with these statistics, brochures and flyers, along with coupons, strategically placed where your target audience visits, still tend to generate a lot of business despite its “traditional” perception.

Paired with a digital campaign, print can increase the overall return on investment for multimedia campaigns. According to ReachDynamics, marketers who paired direct mail with business intelligence data about website browsing and behaviors were able to achieve an astounding 190% increase in their direct mail conversions[2].  This means mailing a coupon could be the perfect endcap to a targeted Facebook advertisement, as a remarketing tactic, or as a follow up to a strategic email campaign.

Because print is one of the only real, tangible ways for your brand to end up in the hands of your potential clients, direct mail remains one of the most effective channels for driving new leads to franchise locations. You do not need permission to send a direct mail campaign, and unlike email and text messaging tactics, print can break through the digital clutter that has become ubiquitous to the point of bothersome. Think about how many emails you receive daily and how many you pay attention to; a postcard in the mail, especially to younger generations, is often seen as a gift and garners more attention on average than an email. In fact, 64% of millennials would rather scan for useful info in the mail than email[1]. When combined with a multimedia approach the effect is an increase in sales and foot traffic to your franchise locations.

At first glance, a direct mail campaign may seem expensive with postage and printing costs, yet this medium has been proven to have a high rate of return on investment, especially considering the ever-increasing cost of digital marketing. Finding a good printing partner is crucial, and if you’re going to run a nationwide direct mail campaign with your national ad budgets, you’re going to need to make sure you partner has variable data printing and list cleansing experience, can report back critical data as the mail drops, and adheres to a Quality Management System to ensure your brand standards are met.

Print, like other marketing tools, is constantly evolving. Products such as re-targeting with direct mail, that utilize data your website visitors leave behind to locate a physical address, challenge the definition of traditional media methods. And with data from a retargeting product, you can now mail coupons or promotions to individuals already drawn to your website, effectively capturing a sale that may not have occurred otherwise.

A great way we have been able to use technology with our own clients is through variable data printing. Many printing partners can offer transactional printing for items like invoices, but we have found that by applying that same level of personalization to a simple postcard can increase the response rate by up to 800%[3]. Using a person’s name can go a long way, but you can also add a local touch to your national campaigns by making regional offers, calling out the closest location to the recipient, and ensuring they have directions to get there from their home. Consider making that single direct mail piece all about them, and their experience with your brand.

There are also new products like video brochures, which combine the staying power of print with the engagement and communication power of video. Used industry-wide, these brochures come in all shapes and sizes and can even be made into boxes to welcome new franchisees into your partnerships. These brochures have a powerful wow factor and can be used during franchise sales tradeshows or events like discovery days.

From brand building to sales and recruiting, print continues to offer a great return on investment, especially when paired with a digital campaign. Direct mail marketing is also a tangible reminder to your franchisees of their national ad campaign dollars going to work for them. Print used as part of a broader campaign can triple your return on investment and provides a tangible channel to reach clients that digital communications may miss – making print a valuable, effective marketing tool.

 

 

 

 

[1] US Postal Service, Still Relevant: A Look at How Millennials Respond to Direct Mail, 2016.
[2] ReachDynamics, Combining Direct Mail + Data to Convert, 2018.
[3] Xpressdocs, Case Study | Healthcare: Sustainable and Streamlined Expansion, 2018
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