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Marketing basics…

It’s often underestimated, the knowledge that us printers have of marketing. We’ve been a significant part of the marketing toolbox for many years. Equally, we’re not a dead marketing method, like some would proclaim, just a time-served tool in the chest of marketing concepts.

I’m privileged to meet many business people, whether walking in through the door, or at business networking events. One of the things that does stand out, is how much tunnel vision startups are to their marketing strategies. Siting cost as the driver, it seems even the smallest of tangible tools can be overlooked, stating social or digital works due to it being cheap or free. Which makes for an interesting return on investment, as something for nowt doesn’t always ring true. All businesses rely on the need for growth, growth isn’t an easy win, it takes dedication, inspiration, and investment of all resources.

At the start of my career and even during my vocational education, the basics of marketing were drummed into us. Understanding your customer is key, having a “pen portrait” of who what where is essential, it then drives the following 4 P’s

Product – The first of the Four Ps of marketing is “product”. A product can be either a tangible product or an intangible service that fulfills a need or want of consumers. Whether you sell coffee or provide beauty treatments, you must have a clear grasp of exactly what your product is and what makes it unique before you can successfully market it. The pitch, tone of voice, visual identity should reflect the ideal customer and make it a potential part of their mix.

Price – Once a solid understanding of the product offering is established, making some pricing decisions is the next critical step. Price determinations will impact profit margins, supply, demand, and marketing strategy. Similar (in concept) products and brands need to be positioned differently based on varying price points, while price elasticity considerations may influence our next two Ps. Geographical implications also play critically on this.

Promotion – We’ve got a product and a price now it’s time to promote it. Promotion looks at the many ways to spread the word on the relevant product information to customers and differentiate your particular product or service. Promotion includes advertising, public relations, events and taster sessions, face to face networking, social media marketing, email marketing, search engine marketing, video marketing and more. Methods of engagement are critical here. If you’re looking for a faster conversion, the tools and techniques used will change. The adage people like people, like themselves, always improves the conversion rate, due to if they like or do it, then I should. Face to face engagement should always be supported by relevant collateral to support the engagement. Each touchpoint on a customer journey will build the future potential to buy. 

Place – Professional marketers will often say that marketing is about putting the right product, at the right price, at the right place, at the right time. It’s critical then, to evaluate the ideal physical locations are to convert potential clients into actual clients. Today, even in situations where the actual transaction doesn’t happen on the web, the start of a sales journey has many points of contact including web, referrals and many more before potential customers are engaged and converted to a sale.

So how does print engage with this, we are experienced in supporting small businesses, ensure that your products visual identity matches and works with your audience. We’ve got substantive experience in tailoring promotional materials to fit your budget and ultimately your price point. We have more tools on our promotional print chest than you think. From the obvious to the more subtle for brand awareness. Print is a tool that can drive traffic to your other communication channels to improve the customer journey for your potential customers. Along with solutions to help you sign and brand your “place” to ensure maximum visibility.

Whilst as a printer, we’ll happily guide, support and ask questions to ensure your marketing buck, is getting you the best bang, we don’t do marketing strategy or other media. We’re fortunate to know many professionals who can help you. These professionals are the full source professionals who work across different media to maximise the impact and delivery of your marketing messages.

It’s your choice…

It’s your choice…

It’s your responsibility…

It’s your world.

We are acutely aware of the resources we use within our processes. We endeavour to offer credible options to deliver eco-friendly solutions wherever we can. However, it’s down to you, to what you want. You make the decision.

Paper… we have a wide range of papers, with different accreditations for sustainability. We can help you learn more about the different grades of sustainability within paper production. Ask us and we can carbon offset your paper by planting additional trees.

Ink, we have options for printing with Soy-based inks, it’s a different process with a different result, but design for the process and you can still achieve great results.

In a world where we are obsessed with laminated finishes on business cards, do you need it, how often, once you’ve got back to your office desk, do you file them in a box or index, and then it’s done? Do you need it?  One true case study, we were challenged by a pub-restaurant to find a better solution to their menus where the laminate was peeling off, we specified a polyester material which we could directly print on, which it’s matt characteristics matched the current matt laminate. Interestingly they now have fewer re-prints in a year, their menus have stayed more presentable for longer, plus they can be recycled straight into plastic (unlike a laminate which is like your Tetrapak, which is currently unsupported in most recycling facilities). So a win-win solution.

Garment printing, we have a choice between different transfer print methods, which either sit a vinyl/plastisol on top of the fabric, or sublimation which fuses a dye into the fabric. The offering of water-based inks might be another option which can increase the eco credentials. You can choose a fabric with different eco properties, however, do your research, is it what you expect. (One of our team has done a bit of research into this). The garment printing sector is currently seeing a vast evolution of options to enhance the eco-credentials within the sector.

Posters and banners, again the choice is yours, looking at the technology you use, the banner cases, the mechanisms, can be key to the sustainability. Are you better-having something with inter-changeable graphic skins? We use a latex ink, where some of our competitors might use a solvent based ink to print the graphic.

We also have a policy to prolonging the lifespan of production equipment, minimising the initial carbon impact of these pieces of equipment in there manufacturing.

It’s also worth remembering that print-based marketing has a smaller carbon footprint than digital marketing since carbon emissions are only produced once during the creation of the product. Meanwhile, carbon emissions occur every time someone uses a digital device.

Ultimately, asking about the anticipated lifespan of your product is the key.  If it is short term, then thinking about the options might be wise. The world we live in is changing so much, the younger generations are keen to see accountability towards sustainability. Can you afford to ignore their value sets, especially if they are a key to growing your business or organisation?

Never to be underestimated

We have one big difference from the “Big Shed” Printers, – we genuinely care. Like true crafts people, we are the people that do your job. We love to get to know you are find out what matters to you. After all we are real humans, who like to make you happy, because when you’re happy we are too!

Time for a true story, we have been doing various items of print for a one of our customers. Due to deliver a job into them last week, along with provide some support at an event they were running. So can say this customer matters to us. With less than 24 hours to the event (AGM) we get a phone call. Can you help us? Yes certainly, we always try our best and aim to please. Can you print our Annual Report? Well yes. After finding out that a previous “Big Shed” printer had always had this job had let them down. A little bit of light banter later, we found out that “big shed” printer, because they weren’t willing to support the client with their artwork issues. 

We cracked on with the job the following morning. Yes, the artwork had issues, nothing that we hadn’t resolved before, We, picked up a few issues / improvements which could be made to help some of their photos reproduce better (helps being a trained photographer / repro scanner operator). Within 3 hours we had the job printed on a good cover stock, creased ready for folding and inserting into the text sections of the job. Yes, delivered on time that afternoon.

A few morals of the tale,

  • Change is good, just because you’ve always done something that way, doesn’t mean it always has to be that way. Finding a print partner which believes in change is a good start.
  • When we priced the job, we actually came in more competitive that the “Big Shed” printer, after all we are a small business and understand small businesses and organisations. And if done in a timely manner not last minute, we could have saved this charity some money.
  • Never box, window or put people and businesses into they do this for us… asking and engaging with them and you will find out more, and they will be pleased to support you.
  • Small businesses are more human than the big ones, we don’t have automated robots doing everything for us, we will suggest and ensure the extras are done for you, either gratis (if small) or for not a lot extra.

Here at HAD-Print we are a totally flexible outfit, our main aim is to please and make you feel like you matter. After all, you engage with us, customer service matters to us more than the big boys, we value the relationships more!

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