Best Practices for Digital Print Marketing: Part 2

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February 20, 2014

This is the second in a four part series about using digital print marketing in your business. These three best practices will help you optimize the use of digital printing in your marketing efforts.

Traditional marketing rules apply.

When marketers begin implementing many of today’s digital printing applications, there may be the misconception that the technology itself (such as personalized URLs, database-driven personalization, or Web-to-print customization) will drive response. Not necessarily. This is still marketing. It is the creative, the message, the offer, the incentive, and the list, among other components, that will determine the campaign’s success.

Don’t just print in short runs. Target using segmentation.

With digital production, it’s easy to think about POD (Print on Demand) and JIT (Just in Time), but it’s more important to think about what these capabilities mean for marketing. The ability to break a run into smaller runs has enormous implications for targeting and segmentation.

Start by creating customer personas, or customer profiles around different demographic segments. Get to know these personas by using focus groups or card sort testing (usability testing) to create psychographic profiles to learn how members of these customer segments think, what motivates them, and how they behave. Then develop short-run, targeted (or personalized) campaigns based on what you learn.

Test everything.

Breaking a target market into segments is an important component of digital print marketing, but unless you are testing which offers, messages, and graphics are most effective with each target audience, you are just guessing at what works. Great marketing starts with creating these customer segments, but initial “guesses” need to be refined with testing. Then you can wrap the lessons learned around to the next campaign to continually improve results over time.

For example, a national carpet company used both card sort testing and A/B testing to refine its marketing message before deploying the full production of marketing collateral. The company was producing educational pieces as leave-behinds for sales calls and they were trying to determine which approach was the most effective: a softer, more educational sell or a harder sell with a direct call to action.

First, it created “personas” for different customer segments that they targeted for in-home visits and carpet consultations. Then they asked individuals representing those personas to participate in a card sort test so it could refine the elements for each approach. Next they created two different versions of the two leave-behinds left in the prospects’ homes during the test period. The company tracked which prospects responded by asking for more information and which ones converted all the way to a sale.

No longer was the question left in limbo. The direct call to action was a standout in terms of effectiveness. With solid testing in hand, the company was now ready to do the full production run using the version that had clearly proven itself to be most effective.

That’s why one of the critical best practices for any digital print marketing program is to test, test, test! You’ll find a winning strategy before your budget is spent.

Download the full White Paper Best Practices for Digital Print Marketing Here

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