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Outstanding shining lights of 2021

Part 2 of our reflective blogs of 2021. The top 5 projects and the highlights of what we’ve seen in 2021. Projects that have caught our eye for the right reasons and ultimately will perform.

Starting at number 5, Julia Elvin, (personal private project) Christmas Cards, meeting the exacting challenges for Julia in 2020, was an interesting journey, this year we had a progression with this year’s Christmas Card, from original artwork, scanned, retouched, colour balanced and reproduced on some stunning James Cropper Vanguard board (Ivory Cream). Great to use British made products in our print.

In at number 4… Shy Burhan, Shipley based photographer, collaboration, engagement, consideration, inclusion were at the heart of the project we did for Shy in June of 2021. What can only be described as an exhibition catalogue, celebrating the works of a project Shy led. We produced a perfect bound catalogue, with beautifully sharp imagery. Supported Shy in creating the artwork, within an environment she understood and knew.

A significant project for number 3, a book on customer service, geared up for a specific audience and design to build trust and authority on the topic. The author was a definitive point of knowledge on the subject, and the trend for prospects to turn into customers is becoming harder as we get flooded with multiple channels of marketing noise, crying out for attention. 

The second most noticeable project(s) of the year, has been the work we’ve done for Flat Stan First Aid, daring to be different, changing the game and engaging and taking on board ideas to progress. Simon’s leadership on actively listening, planning, implementing and careful review process, has allowed him to aim a bit higher in how he pitches and presents. The “how” has been at the key of this work, whether going slightly lumpy and physical with his marketing, addressing tone of voice for communications or thinking more strategically.

The most significant piece of 2021, Nick Shaw, Always Networks, Security book. Nick is a highly credible experienced professional in the world of data and online security, his career progression has given him exceptional experience and it shows. This was part of the enabler in creating a marketing tool, which worked not just on the levels as identified in project number 3 above, but to a higher level. The two-way engagement we had, sparking ideas to deliver, measures, controls, engagement monitoring tools, goes beyond what I call an “ink on paper” print house and makes us a partner delivering marketing support in a realistic SME business environment. 

Overall, we love the diversity of what we do, the magic it creates, the journeys it enables for others to progress their objectives. So, if you need the magic of transforming your engagements with real people, with real meaningful physical touchpoints, we have some stunning ways and means. Oh and I should have included this project, for Lee at Fordies Detailing


What’s this all about? Well in marketing terms, it’s where you exist in the market you operate in. Equally where you pitch your product or service to your clients. We as printers recognise that we are a valuable tool in your marketing communications arsenal. We like to make sure that you use your materials wisely.

Understanding where you and your business is at is highly important to help you to move forward. The last 2 years have seen markets shift monumentally with the advent of how digital tools are used not just in marketing but in the delivery of content and knowledge.

A recent conversation with one of our clients in the personal fitness business was highly enlightening about the issue of market positioning. Why? Personal Trainers have seen the digital tools which they used during the lockdown, now take the lead for convenience with certain sectors of their customer base. The added issue is that it has price point dropped due to lower delivery costs and retention concepts used during the COVID lockdowns.

So, when running your business, you look at your costs both direct and indirect which informs your price point together with your margin. When you are professionally established and have an offering that is delivered at that level there is a significant challenge in the 4 P’s of marketing (Price / Place / Promotion / Product).

So, looking at this PT, if the usual position in the market is swamped with low price offering, then the long-term goal is to deliver in a different place, as the business is geared up for a certain standard of delivery, it probably is easier to apply to a higher market and focus on a higher return for a slightly upgraded serviced product, rather than a downgrade.

How to make this work, we would suggest, that researching the local area, to identify where the potential higher value clients could be. This could be using LinkedIn to find local businesses and individuals within those businesses, supplementing this with other online searches, would also help. Why identify individuals? Being targeted and direct reaps a higher level of response and engagement.

The essential part of the pitch is recognising the potential clients’ challenges and pain points. Addressing them in clear messages. Consideration of the customer journey of what will trigger and support potential actions is essential. Online content will probably be less critical, as it will be a point of confirmation rather than an initial starting point. A possible starting point perhaps should be a bespoke, personalised piece of mail. I almost said direct mail, but this needs to be the level above a piece of DM, it needs to demonstrate a personal approach, attentive pitch. Clever use of some relevant online content, such as a white paper or a planning tool or other want to have exclusive online content, on a hidden URL, which is only accessed from the personal mail. This can then be used as a point of confirmation of a “bite”.

Building a more strategic approach to a higher value client acquisition is all about the customer journey. The tools you use will need to be highly focussed, tailorable and demonstrate true value add, from an intangible point. Materialistic add-ons won’t necessarily create the right bite, but referral and value add proposition from knowledge, empathy and the right service level will create value for both PT and their client.

This example also looks at the marketing strategy moving from being multi-channel, where all guns ablaze at the same time, to a strategic omnichannel, progressive approach.

So why does this matter to a print professional?
• Ensuring your marketing works, matters to us, we want your print to perform, even if it is a limited edition.
• The right triggers can transform your customer journey.
• Skimping on marketing mix tools does not help you.
• We want to see our customers achieve more, even if it is with fewer clients, but clients that have a higher retention rate and value.

Why procrastinate?

We all know the facts, customers like being treated as privileged individuals, yet we scatter-gun generic marketing messages hoping they bite.

So why not be savvier?
Communication is best when it is one to one. Communication is best when it is direct and meaningful. So how come so many are just following the flock when being different makes you stand out.

We’ve recently done a select mailing for an event. Being able to have a catchy line which linked to the mailing aided us to get more time with recipients than an online campaign. You’ve heard us before but here’s a refresher on why direct mail is so good…

• A leader in response rates – yes how much physical mail do people get, therefore it attracts more time and attention with the recipient. Can you remember what you saw on whatever social media channel yesterday?

• Highly personalized, with digital print technology, we can add more personalisation than just names and locations, you can make it highly relevant to the individual in many different ways.

• Opened and read, with creative physical mail running alongside so many other channels, it is a refreshing experience for the receiver.

• Creative, lumpy mail creates a buzz, interest which stimulates more of the senses. Doing something which is out of the ordinary size or colour wise, also grabs attention.

• Tangible (physical) – it’s kinaesthetic one of the key learning methods, after all, marketing is teaching your audience about a product or service

• Versatile – seasonal, in shape, in format, in whatever manner you need it to be.

• Familiar everyone loves receiving a piece of creative engaging post.

• Simple to do – HAD-Print are a skilled practitioner with making your requirements fit within Royal Mail’s distribution channels – we take the hassle out of a mailing.

• Trust-building with too many scams being online, the real-world physical item adds kudos to your message about being taken seriously.

• Cost-effective, whether it is using bulk mail rates, specifying to fit within a certain mailing band, a lot can be achieved within the standard letter and up to 100gms

• Highly trackable – whether through delivery or engagement. There are many ways of tracking and monitoring engagement with direct mail. Clever use of short links, QR codes can make this monitorable in a compliant way.

• Highly targeted, we stated social can be a little scattergun in its approach. With careful use of datasets, and demographics targeting can be achieved to the relevant audience.

• A complement to digital marketing, it can link up, feed into and even be used as an engagement tool back. Exclusive offers belong in the club as they say, why not make Direct Mail part of the club USP?

• Data-driven – if you run a CRM, make sure you set triggers to fire crafted physical communications, or Direct Mail to trigger subsequent online progressive actions.

If you need case study material for any of these, have a chat with us. We have worked with some great clients over the years and also have brilliant case studies from peer colleagues around the globe!

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