Digital marketing is everywhere. That’s why, if you’re seeking a competitive edge in 2020, print marketing could prove your best ally. New innovations in print technology allow you to build deeper connections with customers. Grow your business in 2020 with these five print marketing trends.

1. A complete print marketing experience

Postcards, flyers and banners are all cost-effective marketing tools, but companies that want to endear themselves to customers are trending toward print marketing tools that offer a more immersive experience, such as booklets, newsletters and multi-page brochures. It’s the information era. Your customers want helpful advice and to identify with the brands they buy from. Booklets, brochures and newsletters afford you the space to share that information with customers.

They’re tangible, too, which carries greater meaning to a younger customer base that’s used to ignoring the barrage of digital advertisements. Recent studies have shown that millennials have a stronger emotional connection to messages delivered on paper.

2. Adding that personal touch

Personalization is nothing new, but it’s a step many companies skip on their print marketing initiatives. However, personalization is no longer a luxury. It’s expected in an age when nearly every email salutation kicks off with customers’ first names.

Variable data printing makes it easy to include customers’ names and other personalized information such as city, job title and even hobbies on direct-mail marketing tools. All you need is a mailing list with each variable defined, and you can ask your printing company to apply variable data to postcards, brochures, booklets, catalogs, envelopes and other mailers.

For example, let’s say a landscaping company wants to send postcards to every resident in a targeted neighborhood called Rolling Hills. Rather than read “Save 20%,” the postcard copy could be: “Hey John, take advantage of 20% off, exclusively for Rolling Hills customers.”

The company could even get creative by including neighbors’ names: “Hey John, want your lawn to look better than the Wilsons’? Enjoy 20% off, exclusively for Rolling Hills customers!”

3. Print and digital marketing work together

Advancements in print-to-digital marketing make it easy for customers to instantly respond to your print marketing materials. For example, they can scan codes with their mobile phones to immediately purchase an advertised product, fill out a landing page form or “like” a social media page.

Other ideas include links to videos, interactive product demonstrations and even augmented reality. For example, a tourism bureau might print a booklet with a map of the city. Travelers can scan the map, then follow directions on their phones to local hotspots. They could even take interactive tours complete with visual overlays when they hold their phones up to historical buildings and other attractions. Sponsored partners could insert location-based ads to nearby coffee shops, restaurants and gift shops.

Online tools offer additional possibilities. If a local salon wants to promote the hottest hairstyles. It could send a postcard with a discount coupon and a scannable code that links to an app that allows customers to upload their photos, try out different hairstyles, then instantly schedule an appointment at the discount price.

4. Track your results

We’ve discussed how print marketing can be used to deliver special codes and coupons. This type of technology also allows for advanced tracking — that is, an improved ability to see how effective your campaigns are. This information can then be used to inform future marketing efforts.

For example, you can employ unique coupon codes that, when scanned, link to personalized landing pages that greet customers by name and make product suggestions based on their purchase and browsing histories. We already know personalization influences sales, after all.

In addition, advanced tracking can automatically detect which customers respond to your special offers. That data can then be used for future campaigns: For example, you’ll know which neighborhoods have the best response rates or which combination of shared demographics converts.

5. Foster trust, authority and credibility

Today’s customers are constantly bombarded by digital ads. They’re savvier than ever, and they can cut through the noise to ignore irrelevant and sales-y pitches. They want to have long-term relationships with trusted, credible brands that cater to their needs just as much as brands want to have relationships with them.

Don’t focus exclusively on making sales, but rather on helping customers achieve their goals. To do this, try the following when creating content for your print materials:

  • Focus on your customers’ needs — rather than talking about how great your products or services are, explain how your offerings help solve a problem
  • Share tips — offer advice on how to use your products or services
  • Use social proof — share real customer images or testimonials

Print marketing in 2020 will trend toward more personalization, immersive experiences, customer relationships and integrating print with digital technologies. Use these trends to your advantage to attract more customers and grow your business in 2020.

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