By Shadi Bakhour, B2B Business Unit Director at Canon Middle East
Marketers are feeling under more pressure than ever to demonstrate a return on investment for their campaigns. This message rang out loud and clear when we recently spoke to hundreds of marketing decision-makers across the Middle East.
Campaign tactics have to be creative, build brand loyalty, cut through and deliver measurable results, fast. Many brands have shifted more of their budget into online, but digital fatigue is real. With audiences scrolling past, opting out and blocking ads, online just isn’t performing the way it used to.
But when measurability matters most, it’s critical to demonstrate return on marketing investment. Our studies show that marketers are convinced that print works, but it has a reputation problem. Compared to digital, it’s seen as expensive, slow, inflexible and – above all – hard to measure. But according to the recent study conducted by Canon in the Middle Eastern markets, printed marketing communication remains a relevant and effective method of communicating with clients. 69% of consumers surveyed say they still favor print and big companies use it, including in product announcements. These latest findings only show the continued importance of print technology in today’s Internet-driven communication and marketing techniques. Print as a medium provides a tangible and effective platform to enhance the delivery of a message and engage a viewer or reader to more responsive action.
Print has evolved though, and it can work brilliantly within multi-channel campaigns, which is good news when it comes to assessing its impact. It’s time to take a fresh look and unpick the five key myths about print.
Myth 1. Print is inflexible
Marketers need to be agile, flexible and quick to adapt to change. To deal with an unpredictable competitor and customer behavior, it’s key to be swift to respond and be able to change content in a flash. Customer requirements have evolved with the changing market in different sectors. As print becomes more advanced and efficient, prices and profitability graphs have seen a rising trend as a result, of which print providers are undertaking initiatives to add new services for their customer base. Print suppliers today can deliver ultra-short runs to meet the tightest deadlines. They can also produce multiple versions of the same printed asset, so you can flex your creative or copy on the fly, making print just as responsive as digital.
Myth 2. Print is expensive
With marketing budgets under scrutiny, keeping an eye on costs is important, but maximising ROI is critical. The cheapest e-shot delivers no value if it gets no response.
However, we must agree that print can be more expensive, but if the end result is exponentially better, it’s an intelligent marketing investment and there’s no need to commit to large print runs to get economy of scale. You can order smaller quantities to reduce waste and storage costs, as well as experiment with versioning and targeting to give your assets greater impact. Prioritize value over price and consult the experts on how to cut through and boost engagement with alternative media, formats, and finishing.
Myth 3. Print isn’t targetable
Why limit using your customer data to online campaigns when you can apply it to print too? You can create highly impactful, personalized print campaigns, or use your customer insight for micro-targeted print marketing based on geographical area or purchase history, for example. Think about varying headlines, messages, images, and promotional offers just as you would in the digital world. Ultra-targeted or one-on-one print communication has been proven to yield higher response rates, improve brand loyalty and boost campaign ROI.
Myth 4. Print is slow
Print has increased its pace in keeping up with the world because of the digital and print-on-demand technology. The Middle East printing industry is migrating from the traditional methods towards the digital style. Uploading job files online and signing off proofs remotely shaves valuable time off production schedules so you can meet your tightest deadlines. It’s even possible to feed your customer data directly to the print provider, so highly personalized ‘programmatic’ direct mail based on live data can now match the speed of e-shot execution, giving you the immediacy of digital plus print’s emotional and physical cut-through. The gap between the offset and digital has reduced. Digital offers users HD format photo printers with high quality and instant output.
Myth 5. Print isn’t trackable
Measurement matters most, but one in three of the marketers we spoke to stated that they have no way to quantify the success of their print campaigns. In fact, there are now lots of ways to measure print’s effectiveness. From voucher codes and QR codes to personalized URLs and even augmented reality, you can prove your ROI from print. Using print to drive customers to online content increases your campaign performance, elevating both analogue and digital marketing elements for a richer customer experience.
We all acknowledge that the best results come from using a combination of digital and analogue marketing. Almost all the marketers we spoke to (97%) see print as part of the bedrock of their marketing campaigns because they know it works. Print continues to innovate and, by combining it with digital, there’s an opportunity to make it work harder within the marketing mix, prove its performance, and increase ROI.
But how can you be sure you’re getting the most out of print? My advice to other marketing decision-makers would be to nurture a more upfront and consultative relationship with your print providers. By tapping into their specialist production expertise, creativity, and knowledge of how to maximize print’s effectiveness, you might pick up fresh ideas and inspiration, and improve the accountability and performance of your campaigns.
See the full Canon Insight Report ‘Creating Customer Value’ here.