How To Create Long-Term Customers With Multi-Touch Print

Is the iPhone 6 on your holiday wish list?
With the holidays nearing, there’s a good chance the iPhone is on your wish list, or perhaps the wish list of someone you’re shopping for. There is always loads of excitement following the release of the latest iPhone. Tens of thousands of people flock to stores around the holidays to purchase the latest model for their loved ones. These people often had already upgraded their phones the previous year.
Not everyone feels the need to change their phone every time a new model is released. However, they will still change their phone every few years.  By that time, older models are becoming too slow.  The new versions have useful new features that make it worth investing in.
What would happen if Apple didn’t regularly release new versions of the iPhone?
Firstly, there would be a lot of unhappy technology fans!  But, more importantly, Apple’s business model would be broken.  Their profits would plummet.  They would lose customers to other manufacturers.
Apple goes to great lengths to ensure that their customers know all about the new models.  They take time to inform people why they should upgrade.  They have created a customer journey.
The print industry would do well to follow Apple’s business model
Currently, most print is transactional.  The customer buys a piece of print.  But they know that the experience and the product will be the same when they make their next purchase. There is no customer journey. There is no reason for the customer to stay with their supplier.
When it comes to ink on paper, it can be difficult to enhance the customer experience.
With multi-touch solutions, it is possible to create a customer journey
Most customers are not aware of all the things that can be done through cross-media technology.  It takes them time to understand how they can make the best use of it.  It is often best to start them off on a simpler project. This gives your customers the opportunity to get their mind around this new way of marketing to prospects.
On their next project it is possible to introduce new features to their campaigns.  Maybe they can start testing SMS or social media functionality, or even personalized URLs.
If this introduction of new features is properly planned, the customer always has a reason to return to you as their supplier.  You are constantly working with them to improve their marketing results, so naturally there is a reason for them to continue the relationship to take their next campaign even further
Be aware that the success of this depends on someone else as well.
Suppliers have an important role to play in this process
It is important that suppliers keep developing the software to create new stages on the customer journey. Without new opportunities for your customers it will be much harder to keep them developing their business with you.
It is worth asking your suppliers what is in the pipeline.
There’s one other important factor to make your customer journey a success
It is vital that your customers make use of all the new functionality that you introduce to them on their journey.  If they don’t use the functionality, they won’t be so keen to move to the next stage of the journey.  Then you have lost a key reason for them staying with you.
Start planning a customer journey today
It’s time to start getting your clients excited about what you’ll be releasing to them next.  However, don’t expect them to act like Apple fans and start queuing outside your print shop!
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a larger series on how to sell cross-media solutions:

Matthew Parker has been buying print for over 20 years. He’s had over 1,400 sales pitches from printers. Now he’s using that experience to help printing companies engage with their customers and sell print more profitably.  Find out more about Matthew on his site. Download his e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors And What To Do About Them” for free here

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