August 7, 2021
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The French have a saying: the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s certainly true of marketing. The fact is, the technological tools that marketers use are always in flux. So while the latest additions – the web, social media, and mobile marketing – are relatively new, they haven’t changed the one element of marketing that is always the same. Strategy.
We often confuse goals, strategies, and tactics; it’s useful not to because it can make the difference between a successful marketing effort and a failure. A goal is the overall thing we want to achieve; in marketing, we usually want people to buy something or take some desired action. Strategy is the overall plan for achieving the goal. In marketing, it includes who we are talking to, the “voice” – including copy and design – that we use when talking to them, what our message to them is, where they are and how we can best reach them (hopefully at the right time). Tactics are those means we use to carry out our strategic messages.
For marketers, the tactics in our quivers keep growing, giving us more choices. Tactics include all forms of media, from broadcast, to digital direct mail, to social media, to geolocation-based mobile ads.
As we’ve been saying in earlier blogs, a new medium (a new tactical tool) like mobile doesn’t replace older tools; it simply augments our choices as marketers, giving us more opportunities to get our brand in front of customers. So the real art is how to use media, like digital print and online marketing together.
First, let’s dispel some harmful myths.
In an earlier blog, we detailed why print – particularly digital print – is still an important part of marketing. Here is a quick recap of the major reasons why.
It’s a knee-jerk reaction to say that “digital-native” Millennials don’t like print, and like a lot of “common knowledge” it’s also untrue. Take a look at these quick stats gathered by the USPS and other researchers:
Specifically, Millennials tend to prefer direct mail with digital elements, such as QR codes that link them to interactive material like videos. (We’ll delve deeper into this in an upcoming blob on digital print marketing to Millennials.)
All the evidence is in; print remains an important part of your marketing efforts. The fact is, all people, including Millennials, put down those glowing screens at one time or another and pick up a printed piece. For a company that exists mainly on the web or mobile, a printed piece of mail in your mailbox conveys a strong message: namely that your company is real, that you are trustable, and that you care enough about your customer (or potential customer) to send her or him a special offer.
In recent years there has been a lot of emphasis on building an “everywhere brand,” including using multi-screen and 360 marketing campaigns that catch the customer from many angles. Many articles miss the vital role of print in creating your brand’s everywhere presence. When you consider the multitude of ways in which print can impact your customer or prospect, this is a mistake: handouts, brochures, banners, table tents, cards, and of course digital direct mail that leads to PURL (Personal URL) marketing.
The point is to consider your campaign’s goal and strategy first, and then determine the best media to carry out that strategy. Marketers tend to think in terms of devices: TV, computer, tablet, and smartphone. The key to including print may be to think of a piece of paper as a device – in fact, the printed piece may be the first handheld device to be used by marketing. Certainly, it is still one of the most powerful.