Is print advertising (still) up to date?
Print advertising in times of digitalisation and climate change? That’s a no-go and totally outdated! Or isn’t it? Not quite as simple as that, because postal advertising in particular is benefiting from the digital transformation. For example, hyper-personalisation can only be realised thanks to digital printing, the use of marketing clouds enables complex automation and artificial intelligence (AI) provides the necessary data for targeted segmentation. This creates many opportunities for true cross-channel marketing. We reveal why print is needed more than ever in the marketing mix.
The “Connected Customer” does not think in channels
Today, companies can no longer afford to exclude channels across the board. It means testing, testing, testing, addressing customers in as personalised way as possible and opening up to all possibilities. Because the “connected customer” does not think in terms of channels. They act according to individually weighted criteria such as preferences, time savings, trust, previous experiences and many more. The boundaries between on- and offline are becoming increasingly fluid. Thus, “local shopping in the microcosm of a city district” is more popular than ever before and at the same time, more and more people are shopping online. (Source: Pudelskern Trendbook Vol. 5 “Die Zukunft des Shoppings 2022”)
The huge push for innovation from the e-commerce boom during the pandemic has led to physical and digital channels merging more and more, highlighting the need for a consistent, cross-channel customer experience. “Customers use an average of nine different channels to explore a company’s offering, seek advice and make purchases. Millennials use more channels than other generations, including Generation Z.” (Source: Salesforce Study “Connected Customer”)
Increased turnover instead of cost efficiency
“The enormous cost pressure – caused by the extreme paper and rising labour costs – forces an optimised control of print media in the media mix,” says Andreas Riekötter from IFH Cologne. In fact, the high costs of print mailings, which arise from raw materials, printing and postage, make campaign success indispensable. This is hardly realisable with a cumbersome technical setup (SFTP server, CSV files) and unpersonalised mass mailings (high quantities). From this perspective, print campaigns would fall victim to budget cuts because they are expensive and have high wastage.
That is why the cost argument must be viewed from a different, more agile perspective that does justice to the rapidly changing zeitgeist. Because when print mailings are realised as part of cross-channel marketing, a different picture emerges. Integrated into a marketing cloud, automated and hyper-personalised, direct mails can become a real revenue driver: through higher return on investments and increased response rates.
Create added value & act responsibly
If print advertising makes you think of the waste basket, you’ve done something wrong! First and foremost, it should create added value for the customer and not immediately end up in the bin. Whether it’s an individual voucher, a birthday present or a hyper-personalised product recommendation. Here, companies have to be as targeted as possible, because nothing bores customers more than being part of an anonymous mass. Especially because classic personalisation has already become the standard. They also expect companies to be more responsible and transparent with regard to climate change. Physical advertising is particularly in focus here.
In order to meet the responsibility that companies bear and the expectations of the customer, the formula is “reduction plus climate neutrality”: Firstly, high wastage and thus emissions must be reduced, which can be achieved through a digital setup of marketing cloud, targeted campaign planning, automation and (hyper-)personalisation. Secondly, the print mailing itself must be climate neutral. This means that the emissions generated by the advertising material are offset and invested in climate protection projects (e.g. via Climate Partner). Since 2021, every direct mail campaign booked via optilyz has been climate-neutral. It is even possible to communicate on the mailing itself that it is a climate-neutral advertisement.
To make print fit into today’s world, it needs to be integrated in a more agile and smarter way. Mass mailings that incur high costs but tend to end up in the wastepaper basket are a waste of resources and no longer in keeping with the times. In contrast, direct mail that is automatically integrated into cross-channel marketing offers many opportunities to play out campaigns in a targeted and cross-channel manner. This is a completely new approach to print, which was only made possible by digital innovations.