3 Trends for 2016 in Marketing Communications

In the ever-changing field of marketing communications, print continues to stay relevant with the rapidly evolving online marketing channels.

We recently spoke with EarthColor’s Executive VP of Digital, Cheryl Kahanec, who shared with us her perspective on 3 trends in marketing communications for 2016.

Print is Dynamic

New technologies such as inkjet printing and nano technologies are evolving to offer high press speeds, high quality, and 100% variability on the sheet. Until recently, these benefits were outweighed by the high cost of digital printing compared to traditional offset printing. Due to these changes in print technologies, we will continue to see a big shift from mass marketing to personalized marketing capabilities.

These print technology trends will combine with data mining applications to assist you to effectively manage your data files, increase speed to market, and target your messages. Two examples of these applications are electronic comingling and gang printing:
• Electronic comingling is the process of combining multiple variable data/mail jobs into a single mailstream prior to printing.
• Gang printing is a process of grouping similar jobs together and printing them at the same time on the same sheet of paper.

Better Together

Print, social media, email, and digital can all work together to make your marketing strategy effective. Consumers now expect that a brand’s conversation with them will take place across all marketing channels. Print technology allows marketers to include print in their omni-channel marketing campaigns through capabilities such as high quality, variable data printing and higher press speeds. As a result, defining the message and targeting each consumer will make a huge difference in increasing brand engagement.

Big Data is the foundation on which effective omni-channel marketing campaigns are built. For example: If you have a 21 year old woman who adds a dress to her shopping cart on your online clothing store, you probably wouldn’t send her information about your latest men’s shoes. You would need to target her with a customized message about the dress, recommendations of other dresses, or maybe a coupon in the mail for a dress or other accessories to go with dress.

Data analytics is allowing us to develop customized and personalized messages to consumers through every marketing outlet to make omni-channel marketing easier and more effective.

Marketing Accountability for Successful Campaigns

We recognize that getting the most out of your marketing budget can be an overwhelming task with all the different communication channels. As a marketer, you’re held accountable for developing engaging marketing campaigns while increasing ROI. Print can be a key component in making your campaign successful and driving ROI. According to the 2015 DMA Response Rate Report, personalized direct mail offers strong return on marketing investment.
When evaluating the effectiveness of various communication channels, it’s not about how much it costs to produce the marketing components. It’s how effective the overall campaign is in delivering your company’s product or solution objectives. Thanks to higher response and conversion rates, targeted print campaigns (containing individualized messaging and graphics) will soon surpass generic mail due to the fact marketers will focus on reducing their cost per sale instead of reducing cost per unit.

Personalized direct mail messaging has higher response rates than generic mailings. To increase ROI, we need to get the right messaging to the right consumer and these pieces need to meet consumer’s needs and support their buying habits. A cost effective way to determine the best mix of communication channels is to develop and monitor A/B testing. Recently we posted a blog about A/B testing and how you can test with variable data printing (VDP), click here to read more.

Cheryl concludes by commenting that anytime you personalize your messaging in any channel you increase your opportunity for a sale.

What trends do you believe you’ll see in 2016? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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