Digital Marketing for Printers (Part 3)

Part 1 of this series about digital marketing for printers looked at the benefits of understanding the current vernacular of marketing. Marketing-related projects make up over 60% of the work in most print companies. Developing an understanding of the integration of print and digital channels can gain you a seat at the planning table with your customers. Part 2 of the series considered good reasons to develop digital capabilities and the kinds of capabilities that could be included in a basic marketing services strategy. Small and Medium Sized businesses need help with implementation of marketing tactics. Printers are generally good at details – they may already have some of the skills in place to manage marketing services and other capabilities can be added gradually.  In Part 3, we look at the most practical way to get started with marketing services – use them in your own marketing efforts. Champagne is much better than dog food. Champagne is good. It’s bright and bubbly and optimistic. Drinking your own champagne sounds much more hopeful than eating your own dogfood, another phrase that conveys a similar meaning. For this article, we’ll stick with champagne, applied in moderation to prevent a hangover on the morning after. The last two posts have discussed the reasons why printers need to understand digital marketing and some basic considerations for entering into the realm of “marketing services.” Champagning, applying your newly acquired marketing skills and capabilities in your own marketing efforts, is the best way to demonstrate their effectiveness to potential clients. It also affords the opportunity to learn as you go, gaining from practical experience and by measuring the results of your efforts. Health Benefits of Champagne? There’s another sound reason to drink your own champagne. In this case, it’s good for you. A solid marketing program will help your business reach it’s goals. That’s an incentive, but there’s also a commitment involved. When you add a new piece of equipment in your shop, it must be used consistently to produce a return on investment. Your marketing program works the same way – it must be implemented consistently to produce positive results. That means a commitment of time, money, and priority. Keeping the commitment requires a plan. Printers fail at marketing because they don’t assign priority to their own efforts. Despite great intentions, marketing frequently falls to the bottom of the project list. A marketing plan...
read more

Digital Marketing for Printers (Part 2)

Part 1 of this series examined how understanding the language of digital marketing can allow printers to play a larger role with their clients. Marketing-related projects make up over 60% of the work in most companies take on. Understanding the integration of print and digital channels increases the value you can provide to your customers. It can gain you a seat at the marketing table. Todays article looks at the next step – providing expanded services that help your clients implement their marketing strategies. It’s not cannibalism. The printer on the other end of the phone connection was skeptical. “Why should I get into digital marketing? It’s like cannibalism . . . all of my clients going digital is what caused the problems in the first place.” Some printing company owners still think that the addition of digital marketing capability is like consorting with the enemy. Getting into digital marketing will damage the existing print business. Here’s the fact: some of your business has already been cannibalized – it’s been consumed by headhunters from other tribes. Many of your customers are using digital marketing channels – they have already migrated to digital media away from print, but there’s an opportunity. They need help with implementation. Adding new digital capabilities isn’t cannibalism, it’s a way to regain lost revenue and to grow in a new direction. Small and Medium Sized Businesses Need Help Infusionsoft and LeadPages surveyed 1000 small and medium sized businesses for their 2016 Small Business Marketing Trends Report. Here are just a few of their findings: 71.6% of businesses surveyed have a website, but less than half of them are doing any online marketing beyond that. Only 25% of respondents use landing pages. Only 58% of businesses surveyed are using social media to market. In 46.8% of the businesses surveyed, the owner implements all of the marketing efforts. Tracking and measurement is a big problem. Less than 25% use a CRM. Only 42% actively manage an email list. 48.5% of respondents don’t know if their marketing efforts are effective. 13.9% are convinced that their efforts aren’t effective The stats prove the opportunity, but how do you take advantage of it? If you subscribe to the  prevailing print industry thinking, you simply add a dose of “marketing services” into your mix and relabel your business as a Marketing Service Provider (MSP). What does MSP really mean? To quote...
read more

Digital Marketing for Printers (Part I)

Why Printers Should Understand (Digital) Marketing Let’s start with an easy question. What percentage of the work that goes through your printing company every week is marketing-related?  Think about what runs through your shop all the time – postcards, direct mailers, posters, brochures, fundraising campaigns – it’s all marketing stuff.  Look at the open project file and get a round number. Chances are good that projects related to marketing represent 60% or more of the work you do every day. Marketing stuff is bread and butter work for printers. Naturally, you love the projects, but do you know what’s driving them? Here are a couple more questions to think about: Do you understand your customers’ marketing strategies? Are you involved in their plans? For many of the small and medium-sized printers that I work with, the answer is “not really.” You can make some inferences from your conversations with clients and from the nature of the projects you see, but you probably don’t have the whole picture. You may be boxed in. Your customers come to you for input to a small portion of the program – production recommendations and print estimates. How do you get out of the box? It’s easy to see how an invitation to sit in on the planning phase of a marketing campaign or an entire program could cement a relationship with a key customer. To get out of the box, you must bring something more to the table. Here’s the key question: Does your participation provide a benefit to your clients? Digital Darwinism The language and practice of marketing is evolving rapidly. Author Brian Solis has aptly coined the term Digital Darwinism to describe the idea that innovation continually spawns new iterations of technology. This process is certainly driving the practice of marketing, but Solis goes much further. He asserts that technological change is driving societal evolution. As evidence, Solis cites the disruption in the travel industry caused by Air BnB. Can you think of another disrupted industry? Print was among the first industries to be discombobulated by the digital revolution. You have experienced the changes first hand: Fewer professional print buyers Young designers who aren’t schooled in print Marketers who don’t identify print as a critical tactic Embedded in the concept of Digital Darwinism is the prospect of extinction. To survive and stay relevant, it’s necessary to understand and adapt to  the...
read more