Make a Mint off of Print
In last week’s blog, part 1 of the Power of Print series, we discussed how powerful print marketing really is, and how beneficial it can be as a central branding and promotional tool. This week, we have for you, part 2 of the series. Now that you’re convinced of its importance and relevance, we’re giving you key tips and tricks your business can use to enhance the power of your print marketing.
We know you’re busy, and you likely want to save all the time you have for productive business efforts and possibly some great marketing, so, we’re making this a quick and easy read. Like we said, we have more than a few (8, to be exact) top practices to create effective print marketing materials…
8 Ways to Improve the Power of Your Print
Know Your Audience
Any print material you distribute should be at least somewhat personalized and developed with your key audience in mind. Make sure your messaging and visuals speak to the people you’d like to reach above all else. Before even creating your print marketing materials, take time to research and understand your audience, looking into not just their wants and needs, but also their pain points and expectations.
Don’t Push Design Aside
You may think design can come as an afterthought – the last piece of pulling it all together and getting your marketing printed, but the total opposite should take place. Think through your visuals just as you would your content and call outs. Use them to connect with your audience and grab their attention. And, don’t skimp. Print’s already very cost effective, so spending that extra bit on design, paper, and colors is worth it, and could be the reason your audience starts to love your brand or continues to be loyal.
Have a Clear Message
When you’re dealing with print, there’s usually a limited amount of space available, at least compared to digital. There’s not as much room to “say it”, so your forced to “say it right” (which can be a great thing when determining necessary messaging to entice customers with fleeting attention spans). Make sure your message, especially your call to action (what you want the customer to do or know) is loud and clear – not hard to find. Don’t clump all of your products into one postcard. Instead, feature a few products, or better yet, use data to personalize the material and feature that specific customer’s favorite merchandise.
Make it Relevant
We’d like to reiterate – because of just how important it is – to always research, understand, and consider your target demographic before creating print materials. Why would your product or service interest them? Why would they need it? How could your material catch their eye? Personalizing this content will make it much more memorable and impactful. In fact, in a study conducted in 2019, 72% of consumers claimed they only engaged with marketing messages that were customized to their specific interests.
Engage the Senses
When it comes to creating print marketing, don’t just think about what the eyes can see. Print marketing is very much a multi-sensory experience. Consider textures, sounds, and scents (yes, scents!) that evoke feelings within your customer – whether those feelings are excitement, envy, importance, or nostalgia. Incorporating a three-dimensional effect, such as a texture, embossing, or thicker areas of material, can help your print marketing stand out among the rest.
Use a Call to Action (CTA)
Like we said before, you want your call to action to be loud and clear. You don’t want your potential customer setting down your print material without clarity on what you’d like them to do. Make sure to include your address, phone number, and any other applicable contact information like an email address or social account(s). Consider including a coupon for them to use or a sign up for a rewards program, subscription, or membership.
Combine it with Digital
Gain trust and credibility by incorporating digital touches within your print marketing, like QR codes, PURLs, social accounts, and other web references. The best part? Doing so will make campaign attribution a breeze, and will make it easier for you to follow up with interested customers.
Pick the Perfect Printer
The last step of any print marketing process is finding the right printing company to work or partner with – that has affordable yet reasonable rates – and quality print products. Seek out a company that will not only print your materials, but will care about your bottom line and success (almost) as much as you do. They’ll likely offer a variety of printing options, and will have a creative vision for your campaign and/or overall marketing.
Not to toot our own horn (okay, maybe a little), but at Strata, we’re print experts and it’s in our DNA. We’re prepared to work with you whenever you’re ready to brainstorm your next print marketing project. Just contact us when you’re prepared to make smart happen.
“Say it with Print”
In the digital age we now live in, the mindset that digital platforms will drive out traditional marketing can’t be any further from the truth. Today, we’re talking the power of print – and what it can do for your business that digital marketing alone, simply can’t.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, it’s no secret that these days, from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed, we’re almost constantly confronted with marketing. Whether that’s in music, television, signage, emails, phone calls – it’s everywhere. 69% of recent study participants said that this tremendous amount of information overwhelms them. These days, creativity’s not only a good thing to have, but a necessary skill as a business producing marketing materials. If you’re going to reach your audience, your message (and the mediums you use) must be unique, eye catching, and stand out among and above the rest. Using print materials may not be your first thought, but these days print’s grabbing the attention of potential customers much more than other channels. Materials like brochures, signage, business cards, flyers, and postcards produce a bit of nostalgia, and break away from the digital noise we’re constantly bombarded by.
All forms of marketing still work in their own ways – and we of course think that every audience has a preference, and every message has its best way of travel. But what sets print apart, are the emotions it can produce. Print engages our senses. We can physically feel the quality and craftsmanship that went into that piece of paper or box, and get a sense of the thought behind it. What paper was used? What colors are on the print? What creative choices were made? Okay, maybe not everyone is thinking these exact thoughts, but our subconscious has a sense of these elements, giving us a new view of a company, or establishing additional trust and loyalty. We know this because 76% of people in the US say the quality and graphics of a print marketing material are what captures their attention. This is especially a belief among younger generations, as Millennials and Gen Z audiences tend to be more driven by experience and personalization.
Why not use this to your advantage? Try incorporating quality images and messaging, striking colors, and appealing visuals into your marketing materials – especially if you’re targeting a younger audience – and don’t forget about what it’s printed on. Sometimes a textured paper or an irregular, surprising shape can make all the difference.
A recent San Jose State University study found that “people reading on screens take a lot of shortcuts – they spend more time browsing, scanning and hunting for keywords compared with people reading on paper.” When you have something important to say, “say it with print.”
Print is Personalized
These days, services like print marketing lead the way in personalization. In a recent survey, 30% of Americans polled found personalization to be one of the most important features of print marketing – turning it into messaging that really stands out. Not only can you send print marketing directly to your customers in the mail, you can add their name, favorite products, incorporate their pain points, and offer a specific solution to their needs – all possible with the right data. Making your audience feel special with a physical piece of mail, postcard, flyer, or delivery, can really reinforce that they’re important to your brand and company.
Print Inspires Creativity
There’s definitely something to be said about physical rather than digital when it comes to creativity. 76% of respondents from Canon’s Print for Action survey said they feel more creative when print is near. And Flora Kessler, strategy partner at Carat UK said: “There’s an element of creativity in print that you don’t always see in digital. So much budget devoted to digital…can soak up the creativity along the way.”
Print is Authentic
When companies use print media to display their message, there’s always an underlying message. That message? Stability – of imagery and wording that reflects trust and solidarity. Print can be pinned to a cork board, stuck on your refrigerator, tucked away in your pocket, and taken with you. Most importantly, it doesn’t change without your action. In this way, print is trustworthy, and therefore, much more authentic than digital alone. Print’s physical makeup also provides context. It’s tactile, and provides a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Digital media has no boundaries, and no known ownership. You can’t really be a title-holder, so to speak, of digital work, yet with print, once you pick up a piece, it’s yours to keep. Plus, print has no delete button – so it’s taken much more seriously. A digital work may be read over once or twice, but print work is read, reread, edited, edited again, and then probably goes through several other “final read throughs” and “double-checks” to follow. A printed piece is nostalgic, familiar, and comforting to most. It’s patient and kind, and does not ask you to ever “log in” to access materials.
As time goes on and marketing material options expand, the power and trust of print only grows. We’d suggest that you continue to use it, and intertwine it with digital whenever possible to get the most from your marketing and reach your audience(s) in more ways than one.
Looking for ways to incorporate the power of print into your marketing efforts? With years and years (and years) of experience under our belts, we’re print experts. Contact us today to start brainstorming your next print marketing campaign.
The Evolution, Current State, & Future of Strata
Who We Are
Strata was founded by Jeff Sammak in 1993. At first, the company’s goal was to simply provide print services to a plethora of clients. Jeff later came to realize that Strata’s true mission was to leverage emerging technology to fuse marketing processes into a streamlined, single-source workflow. Over time, we’ve evolved to offer a wide range of client-driven solutions to help customers solve complex marketing and communications challenges, and we’ve consistently been a team of many different, unique individuals – innovators, go-getters, marketing experts, sales connoisseurs, you name it. But we’re people first—and we know our clients, customers, coworkers, and industry peers are, too. For this reason, we know the best way to help businesses achieve their marketing goals is by focusing on the people who work at them.
Where We Started
When Strata began, our services were print, print, and more print. We provided print solutions like no one else, offered great customer service, and were efficient and productive – as we are today. Back then, most of our clients were within the pharmaceutical industry, and we primarily focused on print materials like postcards and mailers, with a very small amount of web portal work.
Danielle, a long-time Strata employee, remembers that the main source of revenue for the company was “creating and printing Case Report Form (CRF) Books for pharmaceutical companies. Strata even had a program created for us to be able to set these up and separate the pages to print because they were printed on NCR paper.”
Before 2003’s move to Campus Drive in Plymouth Meeting, PA, where Strata’s main office is now, the company was located on Butler Pike. Around the time of the move, the pharmaceutical industry started moving CRF books online, causing a shift in the printing industry. To stay ahead, Strata purchased an iGEN 3 digital press and began working with variable data. This led to many of our current tactics – variable postcards, mailers and more, as we continued with more web portals. This change ramped up both the marketing and productions parts of Strata’s business.
Dawn, another long-standing Strata employee, recalls that “internet ordering wasn’t even a thing when I started…but Jeff was quick to add the software and technology to build customer portals for online orders to stay ahead of the market.”
This is when we really changed from a print solutions provider, to a full-blown marketing solutions company. From then on, technology became a key driver for all of our activities.
Today, we’re always using a blend of direct and digital strategies to get the highest ROI for our clients. Our equipment has and continues to evolve, and our culture grows stronger as our company expands. Dawn says, “Jeff’s always thinking two steps ahead (or maybe more) to keep the company current. Variable printing (has) branched out to email communication and personalized landing pages, and our ability to track responses is a technology that many of our clients (and competition) don’t even know about.” Harrison, Strata’s Director of R&D, says that we’re always expanding on our strategic value, being more than just execution, and more than just technology – we’re “being invaluable.”
Mark, a Strata leader since 2007, says that today, we’re a company that’s a blend of so many components. “For certain, the way we work is different…now we operate from our homes…taking advantage of the technology that allows us to do that.” He notes that our equipment has changed and evolved significantly as well. Instead of iGen, we now use HP Indigos (a much better product) and also use multiple black and white printers, a large 6-color offset press, inserters, a UV coater, and more. We’ve improved our processing capabilities through automation, and can now produce at a higher quantity and quality than ever before. Our workforce is no longer only print and production, but – like we said – innovators, marketers, and strategists too.
Our products have expanded from just postcards and mailers to email execution, digital, large format, and more. “We’ve moved from a transactional business to one that’s driven by orders from portals, for many of our clients,” Mark says. We used to outsource a lot of our services, and now, we invest in resources to keep those services within Strata. PURL development is a great example of this. We used to have the need to outsource it, but now, we do all of the creation in-house.
“Today,” Harrison says, “everything we do is with a realistic approach. We always keep contact with our clients and continue to solve problems.”
What Makes us Best – Directly from Our Staff
“Our employees have always been hard-working, easy to get along with, dedicated, and loyal, and that’s what has kept me here so long. I still feel like I’m always learning something, which is great, because I don’t like the mundane, same-old, same-old. I feel like we’re always ahead of other companies with innovative ideas and solutions, and we’re definitely always looking for new solutions for companies and trying to make things easier for them while staying ahead of the curve. However, I feel like our core values have stayed the same.”
“We look to exceed expectations, have extensive knowledge in our field that enables us to make smart happen, and live off of technology to be efficient in all scenarios. We think like our clients and look to provide solutions within their environment, and we cast a wide net that can satisfy most client needs under our roof without outsourcing. We have an excellent client base (many of our clients have been with us for 10+ years), and employees that stay with us.
You can speak with the actual CEO here. You can’t get that just anywhere, especially when you work for a big company. Each person has a place here. Everyone’s best talent is put to work here, and we all work together.”
The Future of Strata
At Strata, we’ll always put the customer first, as we always have, and it’ll always be top priority to solve problems – not just sell our services. We plan to keep evolving digitally, with smarter, more advanced technology, and to always stay on top of the latest and greatest trends. Dawn claims that in her many, many years with Strata, she’s “always seen the company evolve with the changing times.”
No matter what the future holds, Strata will always stick to our core – to make smart happen and remain a solution-based company. Give us a call if you’d like to evolve with us and utilize our mix of print and digital services to your advantage.