Why you should be fans of the Marketing Rockstars

M_Rockstars Hall

The Marketing Rockstars Festival in Graz, Austria this month was not the kind of event that would normally grab the attention of Europe’s Print Service Providers. After all, it was designed firmly for the marketing industry; attracting nearly 2000 marketers from brands and agencies, tempted by the mix of superstar marketing speakers from, for example, Google, Starbucks and Adidas, and the 100 exhibitors with their marketing-oriented offerings.

So why should PSPs show an interest in an event like this, where the marketing community gathered to learn and talk about current marketing issues? Well, Ricoh was a key partner of the Marketing Rockstars Festival and it was very clear why this, and similar, events, are so relevant to the professional printing industry. It is, put simply, because it is at this type of forum where marketers collect information and insights, gain inspiration and ideas. Including on crucial questions such as how do I make my campaigns more successful, which channels should I be selecting, how do I integrate different channels effectively? Where does print fit in? And who can support me?

It is the marketing departments, advised by their agencies, that decide the shape of the marketing activities you will often be fulfilling in part at least through print. So the impact on the production printer of decision-making gatherings like this is profound.

Serving the needs of the marketing community

Ricoh’s stand was a busy one, as visitors explored how data can be cleansed and analysed, the process of consumer profiling and segmentation, the benefits of our Precision Marketing consultancy service and how Clickable Paper can bridge the printed page and the online realm. All in the interests of helping them achieve impressive returns on their marketing investments.

The fact that people could walk away with a personalised front cover of what was only the second issue of Forbes business magazine in Austria, complete with their own face on it, drew many marketing professionals to us. They saw at first hand how our marketing asset management and variable data solutions – MarcomCentral and FusionPro – work, and they benefitted from our expertise in harnessing data to create powerful, omni channel campaigns, with printed direct mail at their heart.

Exploiting the richness of data was also a major theme of Thomas Haas’ presentation. Our Precision Marketing Principal explained how the intelligent use of data can transform the impact of marketing campaigns, and how Ricoh can provide the expertise and solutions to help marketers make this happen. With direct mail often the hero channel thanks to its unique properties.

We will keep talking

Benoit Chatelard,   Vice President Production Printing Business Group

Benoit Chatelard,
Vice President
Production Printing Business Group

Ricoh will continue its dialogue with influencers in what we sometimes call the direct marketing ecosystem. Particularly with brand owners’ marketing executives and their marketing agencies. Talking to them about integrating print into communications, about harnessing data for first class results and about the power of Clickable Paper interactive print technology. It’s about raising their awareness and understanding – building demand for the direct mail and direct marketing services that our progressive production printing clients can deliver and add value to.

Why you actually can start ‘small’ with ‘Big Data‘ to boost the success of mail

We have recently conducted a survey among British marketing agencies and marketing departments to find out more about the future of direct mail (or ‘advertising mail’, as it is often called in Great Britain). Together with the British DMA (Direct Marketing Association), we invited both marketing agencies and companies to share their view on this specific communication medium.

The results of this survey have been released as a report (called ‘Mail Matters’, published on March 25th by the British DMA) and those of you who are interested in the details are more than welcome to download the study using the following link:

http://www.dma.org.uk/uploads/Ricoh%20report%202015-240315_5512a5d8dcc40.pdf

The report was full of useful findings, e.g. that the majority of respondents still consider direct mail a trusted and effective medium (which it is) but a minority of respondents is concerned that direct mail may be considered as ‘junk mail’ (which it is only  if you don’t make it relevant for the recipient!). A conclusion was that the so-called ‘Digital Natives’ seem to have acquired relatively little knowhow about the production and use of direct mail, so that they concentrate on online marketing activities.

DMA research Five Segments of advertising mail

However, most of the respondents  can still be considered ‘loyal fans’ of direct mail although the research revealed that they are expecting more from the medium (and, in the case of agencies,  from their clients). One of the barriers for more successful direct mail obviously is the ‘lack of data and data analytics’. The data, however, is already there … but it can seem difficult to fully harness, so let’s have a closer look at the issue of analytics:

In recent months more and more focus has been put on how much value ‘analysing Big Data’ could bring. Despite the fact that ‘Big Data’ has become a marketing buzzword and that many decision makers are unsure of exactly what Big Data is, a whole industry has formed to help marketers to identify the best target groups and create customer profiles.

Starting with ‘Big Data analytics’ might at first sound like David’s fight against Goliath (also known as the data monster).  A marketer will learn that consumer data is stored among multiple databases and that the format and content of the databases heavily depends on the application (CRM, sales database etc).

In order to get a full, 360 degree view of your customers an immediate task is to consolidate the data from those different data sources (basically ‘copy’ all datasets into one big Excel  or .csv file). Once you have done that you will be confronted with the fact  that one and the same customer’s data occupies more than one database; in other words, you have found ‘duplicates’. A deduping exercise is therefore needed. In addition to that, important data fields like the gender (which determines the salutation) are not always filled, foreign names are not recognised  correctly  or the address is written with many different variations.

So a first small, but very important, step in data analytics is ‘data cleansing and data enrichment’. Don’t think that this must be a manual process. As long as you can transform the data from the different sources into one and the same format (e.g .csv-files) you can use appropriate tools. Such software comes with built-in intelligence (and algorithms) to understand which data belongs to one and the same customer. Most of them come as a SaaS (software as a service), run by European companies following the strictest EU data privacy laws (Ricoh is currently developing such a tool with an authorised RiDP = Ricoh Development Partner). Large corporations might prefer local installations and regular local updates and upgrades.

My recommendation is to take ‘data cleansing’ and ‘data enrichment’ seriously. Today’s tools can not only improve the quality of your general data but can also check whether email addresses are valid or if GSM mobile phone numbers are still in use. The cost of this first small step (data cleansing and data enrichment) is relatively modest.  More good news is that such state-of-the-art algorithms to clean your data can be built into all your existing (and future) web forms so that no bad data will find its way into your databases.

Once your general data quality has improved, you will be ready for true data analytics. Ricoh and alliance partner SAS can ‘calculate’ the likelihood of your customers buying further products or services (called predictive data analytics), so that you can concentrate your focus and improve the effectiveness of your actions.

So: mastering the (big) data monster should start with small steps, with ‘data cleansing and enrichment’ at the beginning of the list. After that, getting full customer insights using data analytical software should be second. Once you have created customer profiles and target groups, talk to us so that we can combine your data insights with our dynamic document composition tools to create the truly personalised pieces of customer communication which can make direct mail so successful.

This process actually is what we call ‘Precision Marketing’. Learn more about Ricoh’s Precision Marketing practice on YouTube and see e.g. how retailers can benefit from data-analytics and mail.

Your opportunities are endless! Let’s take the first steps together…

Understanding the value and effectiveness of multichannel advertising

Direct mail and catalogues suffered through a perfect storm during and immediately after the recession of 2009. The sharp downturn in the global economy shrank marketing budgets as consumers closed their wallets and businesses struggled to stay afloat. At the same time maturing online and mobile channels began attracting a growing portion of advertising revenue by offering more economical alternatives to print-based marketing. To some observers, print-based direct marketing was in crisis and headed towards irrelevancy.

Despite the rapid growth of electronic forms of advertising, print media accounts for about two-thirds of direct marketing expenditures in the U.S.

Despite the rapid growth of electronic forms of advertising,
print media accounts for about two-thirds of direct
marketing expenditures in the U.S.

Since then the dust of the recession has largely settled and world economies are slowly recovering. Marketers are beginning to understand the value and effectiveness of multichannel advertising, and direct mail and catalogue volume has stablised and grown.

For marketers as well as consumers, print-based direct marketing will remain a trusted and valuable complement to online and mobile channels.

By most reckoning, however, it will never be “business as usual.” Volumes will likely never return to pre-recession levels. While marketers and consumers alike continue to
value direct mail and catalogues, they are increasingly looking for more relevance and personalised content. This report will explore recent trends, challenges, and developments with direct mail and catalogues in North America and Europe. It will also examine how developments in digital printing technology are enabling print providers to transform print-based direct marketing into a vibrant and viable medium for the future. For marketers as well as consumers, print-based direct marketing will remain a trusted and valuable complement to online and mobile channels.

Find out more – download our new whitepaper:  Direct Mail & Catalogues: The Transformation of Print-Based Direct Marketing

Never underestimate the power of Direct Mail

 

Direct mail is proving an incredibly resilient medium. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. In our information overload world, where 2,5 exabytes of data are generated each day, the noise can be deafening. Both the volume of advertising messages that consumers are subject to and the multitude of advertising channels available to brands continue to expand. In this frantic climate, it is no surprise that humble direct mail, a letter or brochure posted in an envelope, was predicted to fade away. Trampled upon by the convenience, cheapness and immediacy of the email and its attendant digital touch points.

Zig, don’t zag

Ricoh Infographic -the power of Direct Mail

Infographic -The power of Direct Mail

But wait, it hasn’t happened. Direct mail offers a number of attributes that alternative channels just cannot beat as Ricoh’s new infographic illustrates. Trust, shelf life and the scope for creativity are all vital elements in direct mail’s staying power. There is another important factor though. It is that the agency community, which thrives on freshness, and challenging accepted thinking, is turning back to direct mail as the centrepiece for integrated campaigns. Nicky Bullard, Executive Creative Director at direct marketing agency Lida says in Print Power magazine: “Clients are starting to get an appetite back for direct mail, particularly with younger audiences. Their lives have been so digital that direct mail is hugely disruptive for them.” Rory Sutherland, executive creative director and vice chairman of OgilvyOne London and vice-chairman of Ogilvy & Mather UK recently said in Britain’s Cross Media Magazine, “when everyone zigs, zag”.

The future is bright

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

Direct mail volumes are holding up well across much of Europe, the use of colour is on the up, and smart print services providers are working with agencies to extract insights from data to fuel powerful campaigns across sector after sector. Particularly on behalf of premium products and services where a compelling Return on Marketing Investment can be most readily secured. Further, direct mail is bridging the offline-online gap – interactive print technologies like Ricoh’s Clickable Paper(TM) can move consumers seamlessly from print to digital to find out more or purchase an item.

The message is clear: never underestimate the power of direct mail

 

 

 

For more insights into Direct Mail see: http://www.ricoh-europe.com/services-solutions/production-printing/print-and-beyond/marketing-services/index.aspx

 

 

 

Ricoh Infographic – the power of Direct Mail

Direct mail is a vital node in the ‘connected world’ we live in. It’s a powerful medium. People like it. Respond to it. Act on it. In a blended campaign, Direct Mail creates an impact that’s more effective than digital marketing alone. In fact, in 2013, Central Mailing Services figures showed that nearly half the UK population responded to traditionally printed direct mail over the past year. Below are the seven reasons why integrating Direct Mail into your next campaign will help you market most effectively today and for many years to come.

  1.  The Mail moment – Consumers regard personalised direct mail as the trusted medium for customer communication
  2. Make People Act – 79% of consumers react to direct mail immediately
  3. The Sensory Experience – Direct Mail has a long shelf life – two thirds of consumers keep their mail
  4. Precision Targeting – top three reasons why people open mail:  contact from known brands and companies (51%), Personally
    addressed (47%), information about products or services of interest 40%
  5. Get creative – structural dimensional mail can have 20 times the penetrating power of flat direct mail
  6. Fantastic ROI –  most important more often than any other touchpoint in the consumer’s purchasing process
  7. Effectiveness – 48% of UK adults have done something in the last 12 months as result of mailing
The Power of Direct Mail

The Power of Direct Mail

 

Ricoh Direct Mail Infographic (PDF)

Find out more about Ricoh’s Solutions for Direct Mail

More statistics about Direct Mail – see: http://www.centralmailing.co.uk/

 

Europe’s medium-sized businesses gear up to capitalise on Big Data

Big dataIn a study of European business leaders, commissioned by Ricoh[1], just one in five medium sized business leaders chose Big Data as a driver when asked to rank the technology-led activities that are having the biggest positive impact on business growth. However, further insight shows that the top three key business growth drivers for business leaders of medium sized businesses are in fact data related – first is optimising business critical processes, followed by digitising hard copy documents and  making the transition to cloud computing.  So albeit under a different name, it is clear that medium sized businesses are gearing up to capitalise on the increased benefits of better data management.

We often hear medium sized business owners comment that their data is not vast enough to be classified as Big Data – that it’s an area for larger organisations to worry about.  So, while some don’t connect with the Big Data term and may not share the same number of terabytes as their peers in larger organisations, they are not overlooking the growth of their unstructured data, which is believed to be outpacing the growth in structured data three to one[2].

The reality is they are already taking steps to manage it and many are in a strong position to do so. The Ricoh sponsored research1 also shows that the majority of CIOs in medium sized business are more empowered today to change data business intelligence processes (61 per cent) and customer engagement processes (52 per cent) than the CIOs of large businesses, where 55 per cent are empowered to change data business intelligence processes and 46 per cent to customer engagement processes.

Additionally, the SMB Group Report ‘2012 SMB Routes to Market Study’ shows that 57 per cent of medium businesses have already purchased or upgraded a business intelligence/analytics solution in the past 24 months, and 49 per cent plan to do so in the next 12 months.

How to stay at the front

There are clear indicators that the race has begun for medium sized businesses to benefit from Big Data.  But how can business leaders ensure that they gain return on investment and remain at the front of the race.  Success will depend on the route taken to change the traditional ways of working, optimise data analytics and enhance customer communications.

A study by Techaisle of 3,360 businesses shows that ‘the highest success rate (determined by reaching a successful implementation of a big data project within six months of initiation) was achieved when an external consultant or organisation was brought in to develop proof of concept, advice on database architecture and ultimately develop the big data analytics solution.’

Such findings correspond with our experiences.  Medium sized businesses are less likely to have a dedicated data analyst. The responsibility is usually in the remit of an employee who is still trying to catch up with the fast rate of development of new tools and techniques for data analytics, and they must achieve it on top of a number of other important business activities. 

Ricoh can ease the pressure of the overwhelmed employee and work alongside them to make a difference quickly.  Often we will carry out data consolidation projects (to consolidate data stored in different data silos) and data analytical projects. The goal of those initiatives is not only to improve control but also to increase sales through truly personal and relevant customer communication across all channels. We will also combine data analytics, dynamic document composition, multi-channel output management and campaign reporting (we can provide the FusionPro portfolio of personalised cross media solutions across EMEA); thereby relieving our clients of the need to make large pre-investments in new data analytical software and hardware, as well as employing a range of different, specialist third parties to prepare, execute and evaluate their personalised marketing or communications campaigns. Clients can also opt for an initial pilot to test drive the service, and get a better insight into the potential for their business.  This can be implemented in as little as six weeks which can be a critical factor in this fast-changing field.

For example, at Ricoh we conducted a Precision Marketing workshop for bonprix, a German fashion retailer, which resulted in truly individualised catalogues (personalised catalogue covers), based on data analytics and customer profiling. Barthel Roitzsch, Head of Sales, bonprix (a member of the German Otto group) told us, “The personalisation of our catalogue covers and the relevant customer communication has led to a significant increase in response rates and to increased awareness for our products”.  We can also deliver location-based services and mobile customer loyalty solutions with one of our business partners, BizScience. This service is already reaping benefits for medium sized businesses across various industry sectors, including banking, insurance and retail.

Keep on winning

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard General Manager Solutions, Production Printing Group, EMEA

Whether business leaders continue with their external partner or decide the benefits gained now justify an internal data analyst, the process must keep evolving to ensure the business continues to focus beyond gathering data to analysing and acting on the insights.   This is the only way to get newer insights into the impacts of business operations and learn more about their customers as they continue to engage with the businesses products and services.

And the end results can see businesses transform their customer relationships, increase sales, pursue more efficient operations and improve customer service.

Sources:

Big data – small communications

Bigdata_smallMany people are talking about the need for Print Service Providers (PSPs) to become “Marketing Service Providers”.  The theory appears compelling.

  • Printing services are increasingly competitive
  • Print is becoming more and more of a commodity
  • Therefore PSPs need to move into high margin, value-added services in order to survive

Marketing services are high margin, value-added services.

As many PSPs have told us, actually making this transition is not always easy.  The world of marketing services is a very crowded market, with competition from large multinational agencies to small one person consultancies.  At first sight, then, it might seem that PSPs have little chance of competing in this market.

The good news is that we believe that the latest trends in Marketing, and especially Big Data that are actually opening up significant opportunities for savvy PSPs to compete. Matt Guest, Senior Manager at Deloitte Strategy Consulting practice, speaking at the 2012 CMA Content Management summit,* summed up the opportunity well:

 “The print industry has a phenomenal opportunity at the moment to position itself right at the start of a customer’s journey and make itself invaluable … print is about to launch a comeback and position itself at the heart of brand marketing.”

The latest trends in Marketing favour a print comeback

Over the last 10 years print has lost the top spot to digital as the primary communication vehicle. However, things are changing.

First, when digital marketing tactics – and especially email – first became commonplace, it was attractive as it offered, speed, low cost and measurability.  But it isn’t perfect and presented similar challenges such as: how to manage the data or knowledge gained; how to integrate it within the business and how to make the message stand out in a world of information overload.

What’s more reports increasingly demonstrate that digital marketing techniques don’t always meet expectations and are not always the best way to deliver effective campaigns.

According to the DMA* direct mail is now 10 to 30 times more effective than email (and other digital channels such as Social Media have similar low rates).

 

Responses per 1,000

Rate

Direct Mail

34

3.40%

Email

1

0.10%

One of the big issues with email is spam. Since 2001 email spam has grown significantly from almost 9-10% of all email in 2001-2 to 64.8% in October 2012. Source: Symantec*

Added to this, reports confirm that there remains a strong preference from consumers for printed communications.  And it’s not just the older generations but amongst the young as well. According to research by the Royal Mail*:  “UK teenagers have a positive attitude to mail, particularly if they’re sent customer magazines or money-off vouchers, yet this cost-conscious audience is under-mailed by marketers and advertisers … 32% of 15-19 year olds have done something in the past 12 months as a result of the direct mail they’ve received, with 24% buying a product or service.”

In fact, more and more research shows that customers expect a multichannel experience with their brands, combining a mixture of print, online / digital. According to InfoSys* offline media such as print have a major impact on online purchases.

Infosys Infographic2

Opportunities for marketing print: BIG data … SMALL communications

Marketers are now looking for more sophisticated ways to reach their customers with the right message, at the right time, using the right combination of communication channels – print, digital, mobile, social media.

“In this world of multimedia, we believe using a variety of media is the most effective way of getting our message across,” Sheila Richardson, BP (PrintWeek, 23 August 2012)*

In the book “Precision Marketing – maximising revenue through relevance” by Ricoh’s Sandra Zoratti*, we see that 60% of Chief Marketing Officers said they are focused on reaching their buyers in more relevant and contextual ways through better profiling, targeting and segmenting.

It is the availability of higher and higher volumes of data (otherwise known as Big Data) that is now providing marketing brands with unprecedented insights into their customers.  The net result of these changes is that marketing departments are increasingly refocusing their efforts on using data to create more targeted, value-added campaigns.

As Ashley Friedlein, Chief Executive of eConsultancy explains in a recent article in Marketing Week*, “one-to-one marketing is back, and this time it’s personal.”

Opportunities for PSPs to compete

In this new world of targeted marketing, the key focus is on creating a value-added effective communication, which works across multiple channels – and that is great news for PSPs for several reasons.

First, print is acknowledged as one of the most effective forms of communication and therefore should not be seen just as a commodity.  It is a great vehicle for communicating brand values in a tangible form.

“Our view is that catalogues remain a very important part of the marketing mix. One of the most cost-effective ways of getting someone to visit a website is to send them a catalogue”, Marketing Director Tony Preedy, Lakeland.  (Print Week, 23 August 2012)

Secondly, creative agencies don’t always have print skills.  Since a crucial component of any cross media campaign is consistency this creates an opportunity for PSPs to add value by advising on critical areas like colour management.

PSPs can also have a strong role in advising on the latest developments in digital print and how to create value-added marketing print. Such as high impact direct mail, beautiful brochures and catalogues and use of personalisation.

How you can take advantage of these opportunities

First and foremost… it’s important to assess your own strengths. Few PSPs can become full Marketing Service Providers overnight.  Many will prefer to move step-by-step, service by service, towards their goals.

There are usually plenty of opportunities, starting with your own client base, to introduce new services. In this way you can focus on niche areas where you can add value, without leaving behind your core business – print.

Changing together

Start small, grow fast – A good example of starting small is Elletra, now a Marketing Services agency in Italy. It was looking to gain new business by expanding its range of services, and build client loyalty by providing a fast and professional service.

Elletra started by focusing on improving service to its existing clients. It did this by implementing a web-to-print portal, which allows clients to purchase customised print services online – on demand. Since introducing its web-to-print strategy, Elettra has established a national client base and more than doubled its sales turnover.

Full colour variable data printing – In a recent survey, Printview* identified that full colour variable printing is the top opportunity (at 70%) for PSPs to generate new revenue. It’s undoubtedly a growing area.

According to Barb Pellow of InfoTrends* – in the US over 34% of mail pieces in US were personalised in 2011. “Between 2009 and 2011, personalization rates experienced a stunning 46% growth rate.”

Some PSPs are concerned that variable data requires specialist and hence expensive skills and technology. However there are many variable data print jobs – particularly in the B2B market – which are smaller scale.

For example SAP* recently won an award for a B2B campaign  which featured high impact direct mail to reach just 17 key British energy contacts.

One option for PSPs is to outsource the data requirement – e.g. analysis, targeting and segmentation. There are a variety of specialist companies including Ricoh that can provide this service. This means that PSPs could focus on creating high quality, high impact deliverables that are consistent with the campaign creatives.

Cross media – Most campaigns today will involve a mix of online, email and print and other channels. Clients are often looking for one supplier to manage the entire campaign so that there is consistency across all of the elements within it.

Using the latest cross media software and digital printing, PSPs can be well suited to fulfilling this role. The latest cross media software tools can be simple to learn and there are hosted versions available so that you do not need to install the software locally.

Talk the talk – selling marketing services will often involve selling to different people within your client’s business, and this requires a different approach.

Whereas for a typical print job you would liaise with a print buyer, with marketing services you will typically be dealing with other senior contacts – usually within the marketing department. You will need to approach this more like a marketing agency – identifying solutions to their business needs and campaign objectives.

Although this can be challenging, longer term this will work to your advantage as you will be building more strategic relationships with your clients.

Summary

The opportunities are there for PSPs. Probably more than many realise.

There will always be a need for quality print – so we would advise PSPs to build upon and enhance their print expertise rather than try to move too quickly to become a full Marketing Services Provider.

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

PSPs can implement marketing services at their own pace, step-by-step to suit their own expertise, client base and aspirations.

Finally, one last thought:  if you don’t compete for marketing services then your competitors probably will, which means it’s very much in your long term business interests to take this opportunity.

For more insights from Ricoh see:  ricoh-europe.com/printandbeyond

Sources:

*Matt Guest, Open CMA magazine, Winter 2012

*DMA “DMA Survey Shows Snail Mail, Phone Beat Digital in Response Rates”, June 2012

*Symantec, “Great News for Email Users: Spam Rates Dropped by Nearly 10 Percent in October 2012”

*Royal Mail  “Consumer insights – direct mail and people aged 15-19”, August 2011

*InfoSys:  “Infographic – Bridging the gap between offline and online” September 2012

* “Precision Marketing – maximising revenue through relevance” by Ricoh’s Sandra Zoratti **Ashley Friedlein, “One to one marketing is back, and this time it is personal”, Marketing Week December 2012

* “PrintView – Companies Focus on Customers for Big Data”* January 2013

*Best use of Direct Mail: SAP, B2B Marketing magazine Jan 2013

*Barb Pellow, “VDP: The Market Matures and Becomes ‘Print Plus’, Nov 2012