Some Things to Know About Print Marketing in a COVID Downturn

Does this scenario sound familiar?

You’ve been window shopping for furniture online. Of course you wound up on the website of mega-retailer, gazing at electric fireplaces and red velvet couches. Soon, ads for Wayfair cover your social media screens in slideshows of high-heeled-shoe-shaped chairs and electric fires small enough to sit on your desk.

But you’ve resisted putting money down until you received in the US Mail a large color postcard from Wayfair with a big, purple “First-time shopper? Enjoy an extra 10% off” coupon printed on it — good until the end of July. You find yourself carrying it around the house with you, setting it down, picking it up. You wouldn’t want to lose it? Even though you might not be in the best shape to buy a piece of furniture right now, you are planning on it by the end of July. Maybe even a Vincent Van Gogh bead curtain?

Print Marketing During a Pandemic

While the economy feels like it’s melting down, marketing experts suggest the current crisis is a time of disruption–nobody knows what the immediate future holds or how to meet it right now. Regardless, print and digital marketing specialists say the tactile sensation and physical experience of a postcard, or a catalogue, can magnify and reinforce the impression you make on your customers. That’s why, some say, the pandemic is a crucial time to double down on your brand, shape up your materials, and be ready to go on the day that social restrictions loosen up in your region.

In short, it might seem as if the Covid-19 pandemic has driven society online in larger numbers than ever before, but at the same time, people still check the mail and react to print media arriving through a mailbox.

Not only that, if your company works with merchandise, now is the time to plan your next campaign.

Here are some things to know about effective print and direct mail marketing during Covid-19.

  • There has been a massive dropoff of direct mail campaigns and mass mailings, possibly because of the false belief that letters and packages can spread the virus. Experts say mail, newspapers and magazines are very low risk for transmission. But meanwhile, the US Postal Service was turned down for a Covid stimulus grant by President Donald J. Trump, and it’s unclear what that may mean for the mail. Stay tuned!
  • No matter whose opinion you seek out about marketing right now, there is one thing everyone agrees on: If at all possible, don’t stop marketing during the crisis
  • The tools you use (social media? TV? Alt-weekly newspapers?) might change, the way you shape your message might change, but your goal should be to keep your customer base (whatever it may be) to the degree you can, keeping in mind the current moment may be an almost impossible time to grow it.
  • In coming up with a good message, lean heavily on expressions of true human empathy. Avoid tone-deaf messages that make light of suffering or the people most vulnerable in the current situation. Target Marketing offers a great list of what to watch out for in coming up with effective marketing messages during the pandemic, here.
  • Take this time to research your customer base: find out what motivates them and what they respond to in times like these.
  • Prioritize current customers by offering them sound advice even if their budgets are shrinking, as a way to retain them over the long term. Minuteman Press is doing that with this extended list of Covid-themed (“We’re still here!”) paper promotional products tied into a new online digital business directory. With this approach, real world promotions drive customers to your online presence, which in turn brings customers straight to your catalogues and order forms or your front door if that’s what you wish.
  • This is a time when marketing teams are re-examining their print collateral by updating old brochures, business cards, any print materials, so that when pandemic restrictions lift you will be ready with fresh promotional items.
  • In the same vein, now is the time to plan branded materials–Business cards, brochures and catalogs– so that when restrictions lift you will be ready to go with your merchandise.

We hope this helps you when determining how to navigate this unprecedented situation we are all facing.

Printing for You

Please reach out to us here at Rhino Digital Printing in Portland, Oregon if you need your materials printed and mailed. We can take care of your graphics and turn them into that tactile element that so many are missing now.

Rhino Digital