How 5 Printers Surprised their Customers and Won Big

“I didn’t know you did that” – six words, rich with opportunity but laced with irony.
For the industry that made mass-communication possible, it’s notable how many printers whiff when it comes to spreading the word about themselves.
In search of work with larger and more stable margins, many printers are sensibly looking to establish themselves higher up the value chain, beyond print and into marketing services. But a client or prospect can’t buy something if they don’t know you do it. From personalized print to full-blown cross-media campaigns – they’re buying it from someone. Why not from you?
This question prompted five print providers to conjure up innovative campaigns that forced clients to think: “Hey, maybe there’s more to these guys than we thought…”
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1. Chocolate melts preconceptions
By turning on the charm with a personalized multi-platform campaign (and chocolate), Norway’s CopyCat scooped 15 new customers in just two months and grew revenue in all departments.
They already had a well-earned reputation for quality print such as brochures, packaging, labels and posters. But, with in-house web and design expertise, they knew they had more to offer.
CopyCat kicked things off with a printed six-side A4 brochure featuring a personalized URL (PURL) and QR code, which directed readers to a fully-responsive landing page that looked as slick on mobile phones and tablets as it did on a PC.
The landing page asked for basic information…and their favorite chocolate. Then, when these prospects and customers came in for a meeting, a personalized box of chocolate was ready and waiting for them. Almost without saying a word, CopyCat had shown they could design, print, cut and fold packaging in a creative way.
By the time it came to talk business, CopyCat’s flair for engagement and personalization was clear and they could steer the conversation toward their more innovative services and solutions — a tactic they continue to use with great effect.

How you can take it further: Chocolate isn’t the only way to people’s hearts. Bottle labels, mugs, stationery – there’s not a lot that can’t be personalized with digital print.

2. Money pours in following message in a bottle
1AFor castaways, at least, the message in a bottle is a contender for oldest trick in the book. But if the experience of Serbin Print Marketing & Publishing is anything to go by, maybe the old ones really are the best.
Mark Serbin, the company’s president, was struggling to convince long-term customers that his team could be a marketing resource, not just a printer. But the campaign that began with a save-the-date invitation in a bottle, sent to 300-plus recipients in a prime vertical – local not-for-profits – ended with Serbin posting its best financial results since the recession.
The campaign was much more than a gimmick, though, with the payoff being a highly-targeted educational workshop on the latest techniques for drumming up donations and memberships.
The “Next Level Workshop,” as it was named, was conceived with the help of the Xerox ProfitAccelerator® Digital Business Development program, and Serbin produced a compelling program of thought leadership and insight specific to the audience’s business. Xerox even helped Serbin secure a keynote from a recognized not-for-profit marketing expert.
4AFrom start to finish, the campaign proved Serbin was more than “just a printer” by demonstrating their ability to offer unique marketing services. Included in the campaign were invitations designed as eye-catching pop-up mailers that featured PURLs, and confirmation messages that included images of guests’ chosen snacks for the day. And, post-event, attendees and registered no-shows received another personalized mailer containing a chess piece-USB loaded with the day’s presentations, telling recipients: “The next move is yours”.
Of the invitations Serbin mailed, 55 percent viewed their PURLs and 29 percent registered for the event. The invitation response was so good that they even cancelled a planned follow-up postcard. Of the registrants, 67 percent came from the mailing list, 18 percent from a “refer-a-colleague” link that they created and 15 percent from a generic link included in the newsletter of a local industry body.

How you can take it further: The best sales pitch in the world will go unheard if it isn’t delivered in a way that grabs people’s attention. Serbin used a message in a bottle, but you could just as easily use a helium balloon in a box that is released on opening. Get creative and try something new.

3. Personalized calendar captures the imagination
Off the back of an investment in a Xerox® iGen4® Press, Florida’s Progressive Communications wanted to inspire customers to think big about what this new technology could help them achieve.
They set to work creating a 1:1 direct marketing campaign consisting of a mailer, initial e-mail, PURL and a confirmation e-mail.
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The front of the mailer included a gender-specific silhouette image and the recipient’s first name. The back had their sales rep’s contact information, a personalized image, PURL and a QR code.
The show-stopper, however, was a fully-personalized calendar, featuring gender-driven imagery that incorporated recipients’ names for each month of the year.
The campaign was a big hit, scoring a near-17 percent response rate, 11.5 percent registration rate and a smashing 68.5 percent conversion rate – a return that campaigns using digital media alone could never hope to achieve, and proof of Progressive’s ability to deliver results.
The company used XMPie® extensively to drive their variable text and imagery into layouts composed using Adobe® InDesign.

How you can take it further: Next time you experiment with personalization, go beyond simple variable data. Consider incorporating rich data such as birthdays, important dates, pets or favorite foods, either by using what’s already available or including an initial survey touch point as part of your campaign.

4. Twitter makes printer talk of the town
Japan’s K-Print was already making hay with photo-based products such as greetings cards and photo books when the company spotted a gap in the market, closed to competitors but wide open to them: personalized packaging.
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A social-media savvy company, they turned to Twitter and blog posts to gauge interest and they knew they were on to something when online mentions of the pilot product prompted spikes in visits to their website.
They built a web-to-print interface to allow customers to create their own packaging PDF with text and images, which was then rendered into 3D to create a 360-degree preview of the product.
K-Print’s marketing eventually caught the eye of one of Japan’s top candy makers, who now uses the print provider to design personalized packaging for their products.

How you can take it further: If your definition of market research is trusting your gut instinct, then maybe consider some of the great free-to-use survey tools available online to find out what people really think of your next big idea.

5. Cross-media draws a high-powered crowd
It was months in the making, but within just one week of QuantumDigital’s Marketing Innovation and Discovery Summit, the company had secured $90,000 of additional business. A few weeks more and they were celebrating the signing of contracts with several large agencies.
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The event was staged to educate local buyers on the changing marketing landscape and assure QuantumDigital, based in Austin, Texas, secured valuable face time with high-value prospects.
The flawless cross-media promotional campaign ahead of the summit meant that, by the day of the event, there was no doubt that QuantumDigital was a serious player.
A greeting card four months before the summit served as the first teaser, followed by a save-the-date desktop calendar and pre-invitation e-mails. In tune with the musical heritage of Austin, the first official event invitation then arrived in the form of a concert poster, featuring a PURL and a unique QR code for online registration. Then, six weeks before the event, a personalized booklet was sent out with details such as speakers and session topics, as well as further links to a registration page.
In the end, the campaign generated a 51 percent response rate, a 38 percent conversion rate and, perhaps most impressive, more than 100 people tuned in to watch the live stream of the two-day event.

How you can take it further: Maximize the lifespan and reach of your customer events by making a video of the day’s main highlights available online, sharing it on social media and sending it out to people that couldn’t be there in person.

The Lessons learned

  • Show don’t tell – every marketing campaign you conduct is essentially a demonstration of your strategy, skills and tactics. Bring your best stuff.
  • Get under their skin – if you truly understand what it is your targets are trying to achieve with their marketing, or the challenges they’re facing, then you can craft a campaign that says all the right things, at the right time.
  • Be proactive – as we’ve seen, while you’re waiting for the phone to ring the print shop down the road is out there getting in front of people.
  • Challenge yourself – you control the brief when you’re marketing yourself so don’t hold back. Use every tool in your box and don’t be afraid to fail.
  • Rally the troops – you don’t have to do it alone. Use common interests to build alliances with other organizations and amplify your message, and take advantage of business development support.

Looking to give your digital print marketing efforts a shot in the arm? Then head over to the Xerox Digital Printing Business Development pages, here.

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