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Interesting times

Many people are saying the world will be a different place and things will change. However, you can take a different view on how things will progress. People’s attitudes and value sets will have significantly shifted during Covid-19 lockdown. I am watching people “craving” after the smallest of things on Facebook, and much of this is physical things which people have missed. 

We are at a unique point where the button has almost been reset. You can be the individual, business or organisation that shifts thinking or leads, creating the way you want to be remembered for engaging with them. The quote “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi has a real resonance as your actions can be key. Many people would have heard me say, it’s not the “What” but the “How”

We use as the premise of how we talk about marketing as it’s about educating your customers, users, members about what you offer in your product or service. Educationalists often use a framework of Visual Auditory and kinaesthetic learning techniques. So whilst your audience has been bombarded with Visual and Auditory during Covid-19 lockdown, the opportunity lies with the kinaesthetic or physical engagements. In-person is very limited, with social distancing, and hesitance, getting physical with your marketing and communications will fill the void.

Last week, we had multiple conversations around this subject, with some very clever advisors and consultants to some interesting audiences. All with the same views around excessive online had dulled the message that the respective audiences were receiving. In every case the realization to change the communication method was key, yes that is the “what” but in every case, we turned to the “how” which resulted in different methods. All stemmed around the use of physical direct mail. Whether marketing communications or CPD educational programme resources, the need to engage and add value is at the heart of the message. 

Yes, you can follow the sheep, be bamboozled by the rhetoric, understanding how people engage, will only ensure you can get a result from your investment in communications. Speak to any seasoned marketing and communications professional, they will talk about the tools in the toolbox, one tool does not do everything. So if you want to get more physical and kinaesthetic, why not consider a conversation with us to add some magic back in your toolbox?

Not standing still

2020 has been the year that no-one would have expected. Change happens, however, progress is to be made, standing still just wasn’t an option.

One of the significant projects for the first half of the year was the renewal, refresh of the website. It has been ground up re-working, meeting our defined needs, with a simplified structure, which brings the key knowledge into a sensible overview. The HAD-Print site is the first to be released across the HAD Group, the phrase which has been rattling around is “You don’t eat an elephant all in one go” due to the size of the project.

The focus is very much on services we offer oppose to products. Yes, we produce products, but they are very much a part of a bigger picture. From the onset of defining HAD-Print and the changes back at the tail end of 2017, it was about offering a rounded portfolio of services to meet the needs of SME businesses. The site features our key work areas and our ethos behind what we do. 

We’ve inserted the usual blog, which we are semi-prolific with our content (as you’re already here!). For certain products, we offer the opportunity to directly book a 1-1 to discuss your needs. You will find more Case Studies populating in time, where we talk about the projects which make a difference. We do ask for feedback on what we do, and these form reviews which help us improve and celebrate what we do well.

Some might say that creating our partner page was brave. However, we don’t see ourselves as specialists in all fields, we like to recognise those with similar values to ours, in working style, ethos and experiences. We know we can work with, trust and above all integrate these skilled professionals into our work for you.

Unlike a print project, we know that websites do evolve, we know we aren’t perfect constructive comments are always welcomed when validated with right facts. So the odd typo or grammar error we kind of expect. Different thinking, we’re open to listening.

Above all, thank you to all those, who have provided food for thought, helping us to create what we hope is a straight forward way to understanding us more. 

Targeted, direct and relevant.

Almost sounds utopian but highly achievable. But yet small businesses still use scattergun approaches to marketing, in the hope of a big return. 

What happens when you get something which isn’t relevant to you, you ignore it. If it’s impersonal it too gets ignored. So why the ignorance or your potential customers and customers? Are you just being lazy? Would you respond if someone shouted “Oi! You!” In the street – not likely.

The levels of message absorption in marketing materials are on a downward slide. Due to the high volumes of digital content, people just cannot remember it. Or it just doesn’t strike an accord with them. You want a meaningful customer journey; however, the use of selected channels doesn’t reap the return. Blasting out messages which just don’t get seen or heard seems to be a small given factor in some cases. Looking at our digital profiles, we get plenty of hits, however, the conversion to actual clients is nothing to write home about.

Business is about relationships. No one starts a meaning relationship digitally, how many online dating swipes, either way, dismissing without any validated reason. It’s about reputation, trust and referral. People like people like themselves, commonality, humanity is at the heart of all of us. So why do we try to start a meaningful relationship with so little engagement?

As printers, we haven’t forgotten the power of physicality in marketing. We do networking, we regularly call and chat with people (yes on the phone, not a chat-box), and we aim to inspire our audience with the physical presence print offers. We know we gain clients when it’s a proper relationship. (Proper might have something to do with us being based in Yorkshire) A large percentage of our work comes from referral, we wouldn’t have household names like The Scouts, Barnardos and other prominent charities in our portfolio, if it wasn’t for recommendation by people. How do we do it? Storytelling is the key, it’s the difference we make, the added value of our actions (which don’t necessarily appear as an item on a line on an invoice), how we do business which makes the difference.

This June, we did another release of our House Newsletter, which focused on direct mail and what it can do and offer, it went to a very selective list of people – so focussed, either existing customers of people we’d like to work with. It links with all our other marketing channels, so it builds our story. To be fair, it is an entry-level functional item of direct mail, personalised on every piece within it, so ticks the box of being direct and personal. We added a small twist, a little piece of Yorkshire, with some Yorkshire Values.

My next question is would you be hospitable to all of your customers? I think we all would say yes. So we only did a list of about 100 names, print and production costs came in around the price of a good cup of barista coffee for each piece. (Of course creative and artwork costs do vary, so depends how you view it.) For reference, I also did the number crunching on double the volume and it came in around 65-75% of the price of your barista coffee. All this including the postage, using Royal Mail Barcoded Mail solutions.

In the commissioning process, we dummied and tested different paper stocks for weight and performance. Included and tested different insertion items for weight and Royal Mail compliance. This ensured we remained in Letter, Band One for postage purposes, so controlling the budget.

If you need to be proper and stand out, demonstrate your values, show you’re real and trust-worthy, we can tailor direct mail solutions to fit. We can suggest ideas to get you remembered for the right reasons too. We are well aware that opportunities for face to face business development could be limited in the foreseeable future. Creating a memorable engagement will become paramount.

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