3 Ways Print Can Help Your Business


3 ways print can help your business

We’ve published a slew of articles discussing the important role print plays in today’s world. This ranges from how print ad spend is rising to the growing importance of variable data printing.

Today we want to look at three simple ways print can help grow your business. We think you’ll find it interesting and informative as a way to distill down all the stats and figures about print.

1. Print brings back lapsed customers

It is easier (and cheaper) to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. But did you know print can help you re-engage lapsed customers? The following quote on the matter comes from the great article “10 killer reasons why you should be using print” from Content Magazine.

“There is one very good use for print, better than other content delivery systems and not enough brands are using it for this purpose, that is, re-engaging lapsed customers,” said Andrew Hirsch, CEO of John Brown Media. “Online footwear retailer, Zappos (which is not one of our clients), was experiencing a problem with re-engaging with lapsed customers. About two Christmases ago it sent their lapsed customers a print catalogue, and overnight some went on to become their best customers.”

2. Create trust and credibility

No matter what kind of print product you are producing, consumers see it as inherently more credible and trustworthy than digital products. And you don’t have to take our word for it. Joey Hinojoso, owner of Smart Levels Media, quotes a variety of studies showing how readers perceive traditional ads versus digital ads in a great LinkedIn article.

“An extensive survey conducted by The VTT Research Institute in 2012 found that 63% of consumers who read newspapers find the ads within them trustworthy,” he writes. “This is compared with a shockingly low 25% of consumers who derive the same sense of trust from internet advertising methods.”

3. It will help people remember your business

Studies have shown that those reading print publications retain information better than those that read the same information online. We quoted one such study that found the reason for this is that reading print is more effective than reading digital sources. And it makes sense in context of how information is perceived in today’s world.

“The knowledge that the information they can find online, even if it disappears after reading, is immediately electronically archived and thus imminently retrievable may make readers less apt to feel they need to store it in their memory,” said a researcher that worked on the study.

We hope this information shines a little more light on the importance of print and how it can help your business. For information on how we can help, contact us today.

Study: Print catalogs encourage online and offline purchases


Print catalogs mailbox

62 percent of shoppers that made purchases after receiving print catalogs said the purchase was influenced by the catalog.

This finding comes from a new study by InfoTrend examining how print materials in influence retail purchases online and at brick and mortar stores.

We’ve written about the resurgence of print catalogs (from companies as diverse as JC Penney and AirBnB), and the new study is a great look into how consumers are responding to the catalogs.

“Catalogs are effective at triggering online and retail purchases,” said Barb Pellow, Group Director of InfoTrends’ Consulting Group, in a press release. “62% of consumers receiving catalogs who made a purchase within the last 3 months were influenced by the catalog.”

The study found that although shoppers were influenced by big, well-known brands like IKEA, L.L. Bean and Victoria’s Secret, they also were paying attention to print catalogs from small businesses.

“The market is shifting to away from the big book, general catalogs to smaller titles targeted at niche segments,” said the press release.

Print catalogs were found useful across a variety of demographics. The study found “no dramatic differences when comparing age groups or in terms of income, gender, or parents/non-parents.” Catalog trends in both North America and Western Europe were studied.

The study also looked at direct mail, including marketing collateral like flyers, brochures, letters and postcards.

Not only is two-thirds of direct mail looked at, but over 40 percent of consumers make purchases because of direct mail they’ve received. This marketing channel continues to be an effective way to drive sales, both in-store and online.

Print catalogs clearly remain an important part of a multi-channel marketing strategy for companies small and large. Contact Colorwise today on more about how the print collateral we print can improve your marketing goals.

Photo source: Flickr

Print Today: Measuring Advertising Effectiveness


It’s news to some people: print advertising is sticking around. But methods of measuring the advertising effectiveness of print is changing. Or, it should be.

Studies show that we consumers are neurologically disposed to respond better to print ads in certain situations – and this is not just true of the old folks, either. Studies show that while Millennials are more influenced by digital ads than other age groups, they pay more attention to traditional ads.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal released the following chart, and it’s no surprise that ad spending on print has dropped in recent years while spending on digital ads has accelerated. But look at what happens to print in the next few years: print spending will remain around the same level where it is today.

Total Media Ad Spending - WSJ Chart

Print clearly will remain a major advertising player, but for it to complement digital and other types of advertising we must focus on better ways of reporting the effectiveness of print advertising. Particularly, we must be able to measure the ROI of print not only on its own, but also in relation to other advertising platforms. Of course, this is easier said than done.

One of the clear advantages of digital advertising is how easy it is to gather data about the performance of ads. When a potential customer clicks on your ad, you can see not only exactly where they came from to get to your site, but also how they then interact once on your site. When enough data is collected you can adjust your marketing plan accordingly.

The Difficulties in Measuring Advertising Effectiveness in Print

Print advertising, however, is not always so simple to quantify.

The use of a QR code once seemed like the answer; the natural link between print and digital. Just like a click on the digital ad, the information transferred from a QR scan provides a wealth of information about where the consumer viewing the ad came from.

But the codes have never taken off with the public as much as marketers might like. Even the inventor of the code recently said it (the code) only has a decade or so left to live. Though he was referring to the original use of the codes in warehouse and manufacturing settings, it is likely that the same is true for advertising.

So we are left to focus on creating better methods to measure the performance of print advertising.

A New Kind of Measurement Tool

A new tool that aims to offer new insights into print advertising effectiveness is the Magazine Audience Performing Predictor (mapp), which delivers performance data of magazine ads within 14 days of the issue’s on-sale date. This is as close to real time performance results for magazine ads as we currently have available. A collaborative effort of Magazine Publishers of Australia (MPA) – and thus far only available for Australian magazines – the tool recently received a global award at the FIPP Research Forum.

Magazine Audience Performance Predictor (Mapp) Logo

Here’s the description of the tool on the MPA website:

Using mapp advertisers can now access timely, real-time measures of current magazine issue performance and magazine audience build over time. [It] enables magazines to be evaluated more accurately in advertisers’ marketing and media models, using a weekly timeframe of performance, alongside other media and key indicators, such as sales. mapp provides, within a week or two after the on-sale date, estimates of the total ratings that specific magazine issues will achieve over their lifespan.

“mapp is a truly innovative project, which quantifies the contribution of magazines to the media mix in a manner that is in line with the forms of data available for other media,” said FIPP’s judges, according to ProPrint.com. “It involves forecasting how advertising messages in magazines will be spread through time, issue by issue.”

What’s Next?

The service is still relatively new, so its effectiveness remains to be seen. Still, it’s great to see innovations coming to magazine ad measuring techniques.

As print spending stabilizes, advertisers will have a better idea of how much they need to spend on print, but the new question will be what print venues will be the best investment. And they will be looking to new tools like mapp to help them make these decisions in context to their publications.

The Future is Cross Platform

As mentioned above, print advertisers not only want better ROI measurements, but also want to know how these ads function in context of their other advertising platforms. Forbes emphasized the importance of measuring multiple platforms at once with the article, “2014: The Year of the Cross Platform Measurement.”

Much of the article is focused on traditional television v. digital video consumption. But the parallels to the print medium are many. Television advertisers are still relying heavily on the traditional ratings measurement tools, while the rise of digital television consumption is sharp (a 30 percent rise from the final quarter of 2012 to the final quarter of 2013). Needless to say, it is now imperative to not only be able to measure both traditional and digital TV viewing, but to be able to be able to combine that data to get an accurate picture of the viewing audience.

Similarly, print advertisers still rely primarily on circulation numbers that are becoming more and more unreliable as reading habits change. While it is easier to measure digital reading habits, being able to discover what reader is reading one article in a magazine and then another (in the same publication) online will put advertisers in a much better position. It will also be a great way for publishers to give advertisers a better representation of not only how many but how readers are reading the material. Of course, this will allow them to better optimize advertising rates.

What Does it Mean Now?

The good news: print advertising is sticking around and the previous decline in print ad sales will level off. This means advertisers are realizing where the advantages of print advertising lies in relation to digital ads and how the two can complement each other.

The bad news: we don’t yet have a great way to measure the results of this cross-platform approach.

However, it is likely that new tools similar to mapp will continue to emerge to fill this void. It remains to be seen just how effective they will be, but we’ll be looking forward to seeing more effective print advertising measuring techniques emerge as we move forward into this new era of advertising.


“Think Different” image source: Wikimedia Commons

Refinery29 Distributes Print Magazines Via Uber



It seems we can’t cover print news recently without discovering a new digital company that has turned to print magazines as part of its marketing strategy. One of the latest is fashion and style website Refinery29, though the distribution method the company is using to get the magazines to its audience may be just as noteworthy than the magazines themselves.

The company placed 30,000 copies of its first printed magazine in the cars of rideshare company Uber, according to Advertising Age. The move may serve to distinguish Refinery29 from other brands during this year’s New York Fashion Week.

Know Your Audience and Go to Them

One of the first rules of marketing is to know your audience and how to get your message to that audience. Refinery29 clearly recognizes how important this is and is using the new print campaign to bring their brand directly into the hands of their target audience.

Not only does the company realize that a ton of fashion-conscious women will flood New York City during Fashion Week, they also recognize that many of them will use Uber to get around. They recognize that those using Uber may have more disposable income than those that take the subway, and – because they chose Uber – may know more about current trends than those that hail a taxi.

Using print magazines in conjunction with new technology, Refinery29 is able to put print magazines physically in front of some of its target audience.

Once Again, Old Meets New

In addition to the campaign being a unique branding opportunity, the partnership with Uber once again illustrates how new digital opportunities can work in conjunction with existing technology – not in competition with it.

Uber has built a widely successful company based on providing the familiar service of getting customers from one place to another in cars. But the company turned the existing taxi and rideshare industry on its head by allowing users to summon a car – and then pay for their ride -on their smartphone. Additionally, Uber often is cheaper than existing alternatives.

This model shows how using new digital technology can work to improve existing technology and services, not replace them altogether. Refinery29 is doing a similar thing by using print magazines to complement its website.

One Off Print Magazines

The magazine, called Refinery29 Editions, is 28 pages with no advertisements. A company spokeswoman told AdAge that the magazine will serve as a bridge between the online world and real-world events. However, there are no current plans to produce further editions.

Image Source: Flickr

Airbnb Latest Tech Company to Launch Print Magazine


Airbnb Print Magazine Pineapple

Airbnb recently became the latest tech company to turn to print marketing with the reveal of its new print magazine, Pineapple.

Many companies have been adding digital elements to their traditional marketing strategies for years now. This move typically began with a website and grew to include intricate digital strategies like social media, mobile apps, email marketing and much more.

But what about the companies that began in the digital realm? As the digital landscape becomes increasingly crowded, many are looking for ways to distinguish themselves and this often means moving toward print marketing, as counterintuitive as it may seem.

For Airbnb, print is the distinctive element. Here’s how the company describes the purpose of the magazine:

This is a printed magazine where honest stories are told by the unexpected characters of our community. It is a crossroad of travel and anthropology; a document of community, belonging and shared space.

Speaking to AdWeek, Airbnb CEO Jonathan Mildenhall said the magazine “will combine the emotional and practical sides of traveling by giving a comprehensive guide to neighborhoods and cities, as well as capturing the sense of belonging that comes from a memorable trip.”

It’s telling that the word “belonging” shows up in both descriptions. The company touts the slogan “Belong Anywhere” across its website, focusing heavily on the community it fosters among its users.

*Sidenote: The name Pineapple comes from colonial New England, where the fruit was a symbol of hospitality.

Building a Tech Brand Through Print

When it comes down to it, Airbnb essentially does one thing: hosts use the service to provide a room (or rooms) in their homes to Airbnb users (typically travelers). The company is providing the service and not the product, which is why the focus on building community is so important.

“Airbnb may not be supplying the end product, but it’s sure selling an experience,” writes Tessa Wegert at Contently.com, “and when a brand facilitates a P2P [peer-to-peer] service it has to gain the trust of users on all sides.” The article also highlights an Altimeter Group report naming a “desire for community” as a driving force behind Airbnb’s success.

In theory, strangers staying in strangers’ houses and sleeping in their beds seems a little creepy. But knowing that you “Belong Anywhere” – or, are a part of a community – makes the arrangement more inviting. The more people know of, talk about and use Airbnb, the less it seems like an anomaly to stay in someone else’s home; it begins to feel like you are part of something bigger.

Part of what has led to the growth of Airbnb is travelers that have used the service recounting their experience to others. Pineapple is the latest attempt to scale that sharing on a larger scale.

Why a Print Magazine Helps Airbnb

The magazine spreads the company’s message through feature articles and photo spreads on three Airbnb cities: London, Seoul and San Francisco (the latter is where Airbnb is based). Exemplifying the company’s community-first message, the article on San Francisco doesn’t focus on the city as a whole, but rather individual San Fran neighborhood of Outer Sunset.

The four-color, glossy magazine features articles and photography from freelancers, though the magazine was put created and managed by an internal team at the company. Noticeably, the first issue has no ads – the bill is being footed by the company. However, Andrew Schapiro, head of brand creative for Airbnb, told the New York Times that the company is looking at “ways of scaling this idea going forward.”

Schapiro also told the Times that 18,000 copies of the magazine will be distributed to Airbnb hosts internationally, and that a limited number will be available in bookstores in North America and Europe.

Building Brand Loyalty Online

So far it appears the company’s approach is working. According to Inc. – which coincidentally just named Airbnb its 2014 Company of the Year – the service now has 800,000 host listings worldwide along with 20 million users. Of those, 10 million used the service in 2014 alone. For comparison: Airbnb offers more lodging than any hotel chain worldwide.

That last statistic may be somewhat related to Airbnb’s goal for the magazine. The NYTimes article quotes NYU professor Bjorn Hanson as saying most hotel brands offer “a publication of some form,” and Pineapple “continues to position Airbnb as a legitimate hotel brand.”

While the company serves as something of an alternative to hotels, that doesn’t mean it can’t steal a thing or two from the playbook of the hotel industry. Namely, fostering brand loyalty for a service that exists online. This may prove difficult for a company that, again, offers no actual end product. But Pineapple is a physical reminder of the Airbnb brand and it aims to foster.


A Post Script: Other Digital Companies in the Print World

Airbnb is not the only tech company moving into the print world. Another high profile company that has launched a print magazine is CNET, one of the oldest online tech publications. Music site Pitchfork launched the quarterly Pitchfork Review in December 2013, and Editorialist – a fashion accessories site founded by former Elle editors – launched a biannual print magazine that has seen good results so far.

Speaking to AdWeek, Editorialist co-founder Kate Davidson Hudson said the site has seen a “huge uptick” in conversion of the online version of content that appeared in the hard copy magazine.

“We were making an effort to find out how we can be at all of our users’ touch points throughout their day,” said Davidson Hudson. “The big missing piece of that puzzle, ironically, was having a tangible medium to connect with them on.”

AdWeek points out that, in this case, the tangible medium grants access to consumers that may not go online first: e.g. “older women who are in the market for a $1,000 bag but might not look for it on the Web.”

This last part speaks to why digital companies are turning to print, and why in many cases the move is successful. The move ensures yet another avenue of interaction with customers, and in many cases that means a whole new way of interacting offline.

It has been proven that there are differences between reading online and reading print, and this is part of what makes the printed magazine useful to some digital companies. It’s certainly not great strategy for every digital company to start issuing print magazines, but some are clearly finding that it’s a great way to expand their brand and add a new aspect to their marketing campaigns with print.


The Strategy of Your Print Marketing Collateral


Print Marketing Collateral

Print marketing collateral is a must for most small businesses – these materials allow you to put your exact message directly into the hands of your audience.

Print Marketing Collateral Materials, A Definition
Any sales or marketing material designed to support a product or service, e.g. Brochures, Calendars, Catalogs, Direct Mail, Newsletters, Pocket Folders, Posters.

While collateral has traditionally been considered print products (as evidenced in the explanation above), now some digital information falls under the definition, as well. The key to choosing effective materials (both message and medium) is to have a marketing collateral strategy that serves your overall marketing strategy.

5 Ways to Improve Your Collateral Marketing Strategy

1. Search for Consistency Across Media

Marketing 101 advises you to create consistency across all materials (the same logo, the same color scheme, etc.). But beyond this, you need to be sure your message also is consistent across different media.

This does not mean that you have to (or should) say the same thing in the same way on every piece of marketing you produce, but it does mean there needs to be a recognizable aspect of your company no matter the avenue used to deliver the message.

— FedEx (@FedEx) October 28, 2013

In the tweet above, FedEx uses social media to have a little fun and let customers know that their One Rate shipping services are great for the impending Zombie Apocalypse. However, the tone is decidedly more serious over at the company’s FedEx Service Alerts page – and rightly so.

Fedex Strategic Marketing Comparison

Anyone visiting the above page worried about delivery of a time-sensitive package likely isn’t quite in the mood to chuckle about zombies.

Still, despite the tone differences, the company is always on target and focused on enforcing their message: we’ll deliver your package come hell, high water or zombies, and if there are any problems along the way we are going to get serious and keep you informed of what’s going on.

2. Make Print Marketing Collateral Part of Your Overall Content Strategy

Content strategy is a phrase that has been thrown around a lot in the past few years with the rise of online marketing. However, the definition can be a bit unclear.

The great book “Content Strategy – Connecting the Dots Between Business, Brand, and Benefits,” offers this definition:

A comprehensive process that builds a framework to create, manage, deliver, share, and archive or renew content in reliable ways. It’s a way of managing content throughout the entire lifecycle.

In other words, content strategy and marketing materials are not synonymous; the former is the big picture and the latter is just one part of that picture.

Similarly to how there should be a consistency among marketing materials, your marketing collateral strategy should be designed to work to aid and work in conjunction with other parts of the strategy, including both digital and print marketing collateral.

3. Use Print Material in Conjunction with Digital, Not in Competition

Content strategy has grown as a term along with online marketing for a good reason: the digital migration has forced all marketers to reconsider their marketing plans, and they needed a new name for that.

As “Content Strategy” points out, one of the biggest changes ushered in by the rise of digital is the lifespan of content. Digital content has a lifecycle – it can be updated and altered to remain relevant over a large time span and over multiple interactions, even from the same user. Comparatively, print content traditionally has a “linear supply chain” where it is created, published, then archived.

So while digital has forced marketers to move and think in new directions, it is important to remember that print is still extremely relevant. Studies show that because of the differences in how consumers respond to print vs. digital ads, it’s the marketers that take advantage of both forms (and know when to implement each) that will see the wins.

4. Content Marketing is Not Necessarily Digital Content

Often, when you see the words “content strategy,” the phrase “content marketing” will be no more than a paragraph or two away. Let’s get the definition of content marketing out of the way:

According to the Content Marketing Institute:

Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Notice that the above definition does not include the words “digital” or “online.” Though it seems today content marketing is often applied only to digital content, the concept of content marketing goes back at least decades.

An oft-cited example comes from famous ad man David Ogilvy’s “Guinness Guide to Oysters.” The ad is simple; it’s exactly what it’s title says it is and this content portion speaks directly to the target audience. The marketing part comes in at the bottom of the ad: “ALL OYSTERS taste their best when washed down with drafts of Guinness.”

Guinness Guide to Oysters Print Marketing Collateral

It’s the targeted audience that’s important – notice how specialized it is. It’s not for all food lovers, or even all seafood lovers. Instead, it is aimed at those interested in oysters (and, by a created extension, a specific type of beer). For more info on how the ad is a great example of content marketing, Speak! does a good job getting into the details of it.

All of this is to say, content marketing can be print materials just as easily as it is digital, and both types can be employed as a part of an overall strategy.

5. Know Your Objective and Your Message at All Times

All of this applies to not just the text you are presenting your customer, but also the design, the layout and the medium. The best practices for you will depend on a number of facets individual to your business and your message.

You should always be conscious of your overall message with every piece of content you create – and this applies to both digital and print marketing collateral. The final goal is to be able to clearly define every piece of content’s place within your strategy.

Print Marketing in the Digital Age (and How to Do It)


It’s no secret that digital marketing is growing rapidly these days. And though it will continue to do so, that doesn’t mean that print is being replaced (or is dead, which people have been claiming at least since “Ghostbusters”). Instead, digital and print marketing have become complements to each other.

A Millward Brown study may suggest why (and how) these two types of marketing can coexist: the need for continued print marketing is rooted at the neurological level of consumers.

Print Marketing Leaves a “Footprint”

Photo of a Footprint on the Moon

The study used fMRI scanning to observe how brain reactions differed when subjects were shown direct mail print ads than when they viewed the same ad on a screen. The results found that “tangible materials leave a deeper footprint on the brain.”

This “footprint” is achieved in two ways:

  1. More brain responses connected to internal feelings were immediately produced when observing physical materials,
  2. Print involved more emotional processes than when observing ads on a screen. The study finds the latter part is important for “memory and brand associations.”

In other words, print makes you feel more strongly, which in turn helps you remember.

Brain scan of print marketing affecting brain activity

It’s Not All in Your Head

But how does this neurological-level research translate to how consumers actually act and feel? A separate study finds that consumers trust print ads more than any other source.

The VTT study asked how much trust consumers put in advertising from different mediums; 63 percent trusted ads in magazines and newspapers, while TV and the internet received trust ratings of 41 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

The outlook of the study for print marketing materials was good, as well. Direct mail has more trust than social media, while catalogs are trusted more than the internet.

What Happens Next?

The Back to the Future Train

Will these trust percentages change? Probably so.

Trust of digital is on its way up, and as consumers get more familiar with it, they’ll learn what sources to trust and what sources to stay away from – just like they already do for print.

And when this happens, it will be important to remember the most important finding of these studies:

Both digital and printed marketing materials have their own unique place within a marketing strategy.

Realizing this and planning your strategy accordingly is the key to staying ahead of the curve (i.e. out in front of your target audience).

The Advantages & Disadvantages of Digital and Print

For some initial guidance on how to effectively combine digital and print marketing, a report by Qube looks into the pros and cons of both. Unsurprisingly, they echo the findings of the aforementioned neurological study.

Print is best used for three things, according to the study:

1. To build and maintain brand awareness (even if there is a shift to online).
2. For more in-depth or longer pieces
3. When marketers want consumers to focus only on one item (as opposed to the multitasking of consumers when they read online).

Digital, on the other hand, boasts the following advantages:

1. The greatest of the web’s benefits is the opportunity to interact with and listen to customers.
2. It can be utilized as a quick testing ground to garner feedback:
– to broadcast time-sensitive, quick information bites to consumers
– to serve as an effective channel when consumers are looking for immediate information

Obviously, all three studies and reports listed here are fairly specific in their testing and types of research. Therefore it’s more important than ever to use these guidelines as a base for your print marketing materials campaigns and then tailor them to your exact needs (and those of your customers).