More than 60 data-driven marketers gathered at our headquarters in Westwood, MA on Thursday, January 25th to discover how print and mail are evolving to take advantage of tomorrow’s data and technology. In addition to being treated to lunch and tours of UW’s processes and technologies that deliver complex communications programs, attendees listened to two industry leaders who engaged the audience with the latest innovations and strategies involving print. Here are some of the most compelling takeaways from the event:
Print isn’t dying, but evolving as a specialty experience
His theme was that print isn’t dying but evolving from a commodity to a higher quality, specialty experience. In that vein, he shared 10 facts about print that you may not know:
- Across all demographics, it is trusted more than other channels because of its permanence, craftsmanship (it is associated with quality products and can increase the value of your brand), and tactile or sensual nature (stimulating sight, haptics/touch, and sound)
- The largest growth area in print right now is self-published magazines (companies are reverting to this tried-and-true content medium)
- It has the most favorable ROI
- It continues to be the most effective media channel for branding, mnemonic retention (it leaves a deeper footprint in the brain)
- Direct mail continues to be consumers’ preferred means of receiving marketing messages from brands – 70% of Americans prefer to read print communications rather than digital
- It is preferred over email across all key verticals
- Print content is consumed differently than digital; it is deeper, more prose-like, while digital content is typically skimmed
- Adding direct mail to a campaign increases ROI by 20%
- Integrated marketing typically starts with either a magazine ad or direct mail, but you need to use it strategically in combination with digital, social media, and event/promotional channels
- Social media pairs well with print as a message amplifier and a link between demographic groups
In print, we now have the ability to seamlessly transition to digital through technologies such as Quick Response (QR) codes, which allow us to engage visually. They launched us in digital technology and have been waning, but now they are having a resurgence with improved customer experience applications, such as a QR code reader built into the latest iPhone.
A hot technology application with print is Augmented Reality (AR), particularly in catalogs and magazines. Here’s an example from Ikea, using augmented reality to let customers preview how furniture looks on their smartphones before they buy, courtesy of Digiday.
New enhancements in variable data print gives marketers more flexibility
Stephanie Hill from HP focused on how the explosion of data is impacting, or enhancing, the print communications world. In particular, variable data print is enjoying huge growth, as it is projected to grow by 58% (according to a 2017 InfoTrends study). How does it work? Variable data print is achieved by combining data, data rules, and a digital asset library to produce full-color, highly personalized, and high quality print on demand. And HP announced that they have a new plug in that allows designers to create their own variable data print communications on a self-serve basis.
HP has recently introduced a new variable print digital press that accommodates a variety of unique substrates, die cuts and additional colors (up to 7); giving marketers more choices and flexibility for their direct mail/print needs. Universal Wilde has recently purchased this press for our own client variable print programs, and we are pleased with the high quality color production and flexibility in formats this new press provides, due to the larger size sheet and other capabilities
One example she shared was Tasty Cookbook:
Online media outlet Buzzfeed has wildly popular videos featuring easy-to-make recipes (with 84M followers). They offered a personalized “old-school cookbook”, based on recipes that the customer selected. While their primary order was of 5,000 books, it soon became viral and they sold over 100,000! The cookbook should have made the NY Times Best Sellers List, except they do not count online book sales. Buzzfeed realized that there is a real value for printed books, especially in the kitchen, and understood the emotions and value placed on a personalized book.
Stephanie closed out her discussion by sharing a couple of powerful statistics which reinforce the opportunity we have as marketers to engage with our customers in a more targeted and personalized way:
45% of marketing executives worldwide think personalization technologies are a trend that will have the biggest impact on marketing companies by 2020.
87% of CMOs anticipate the need to integrate customer data into their digital strategy over the next 4 years, but only 16% currently do so.
We appreciated Daniel’s and Stephanie’s expertise that they shared with our guests. We surveyed our attendees to elicit their input as to how we can make the experience even better. We received some feedback to include more case studies and hear from more UW experts, which will be considered for events in the future.
Look for details come soon about our next Innovation Event scheduled for May 10th.