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For Designers: Fear of Data

The world is awash in oceans of data. Every time each of us engages in a transaction, answers a survey, browses a website, hands out a business card, or contributes to an online thread, we leave a bit of information behind.

All that knowledge can be a huge help in honing relevant marketing messages that resonate with consumers. But the data ocean can also be intimidating. Before you can turn those information bits into data-driven marketing campaigns, they must be processed, organized and manipulated—a prospect that can push up anxiety levels. In addition, designers and creatives can be leery of too much data for fear it will dim the creative spark.

Some reluctance is understandable as data manipulation does require specialized skills. The good news is that Bolger Printing has an entire team of data experts on staff to help you evaluate and leverage your data. Handling the data tasks and executing on successful data-driven marketing campaigns is our goal.

Let’s look at how data can be used for maximum effect:

Data backs up the gut feel

Marketers and creatives use data even when they don’t realize it. When creatives tap into a gut feeling and energize their talent, they’re tapping into experiences, prior successes and failures, and knowledge of their audience. That’s data. A more structured approach simply brings order to the process.

Data makes messages relevant and clear

Information lets you know what your customers want. It identifies their challenges and offers insights into their buying behavior. You can use this knowledge to decide what message to send to each client or group, and when it should be delivered. This detailed audience profile—a design brief in designer speak—focuses the message, unleashes creativity, and produces a better customer experience because the targeted individuals are receiving pitches that matter to them.

Data creates fully customized experiences

Having the right data is the only way to create variable, customized, and personalized campaigns. Studies consistently show that when marketers customize messages for recipients, response rates rise along with trust in the brand. Think about the many companies that stream or recommend content based on user preferences. Your campaigns can be just as relevant and well received.

Data proves what works

Tracking the response and engagement rates of various creative approaches and campaigns will indicate what resonates with audiences, giving creatives deeper insights into the emotional triggers that hit the mark.

Data helps keep up with consumer tastes

How often have you read about companies that failed because they didn’t keep up with changing consumer tastes? If executives had been keenly attuned to purchase and browsing patterns, comments, foot traffic, or other metrics, they might have avoided business downturns. Data helps you keep up with your customers’ preferences so you can fine tune your creative initiatives.

Data can tell you how to communicate

By examining where and how your audiences receive your messages you can choose the best-working platforms. If you know that younger clients respond to social media offers and older clients like direct mail, for instance, you can adjust accordingly.

Data prioritizes your outreach

Data identifies patterns of dissatisfaction, highlighting at-risk customer segments. Are you losing long held clients? Perhaps it’s time for a customer appreciation marketing campaign. Are you not gaining traction with a younger crowd? It’s time to do something inspiring for them.

The expertise required to collect, validate, organize and manipulate reams of data is at the heart of this process. Our experts can help with all your data-management needs, leaving you to focus on finessing your strategy and your message.

Forget What You Know About Millennials and Print

 

Popular stereotypes lead observers to believe that millennials think print is dead, but that isn’t true. Research shows this demographic group appreciates a more diverse collection of communication channels than you may have thought. They see value in printed material and sometimes engage with print more deeply than do older adults! The key in reaching millennials with print is making sure the content is relevant and personalized. They will reject messaging meant for a different demographic and they expect companies to use information they have compiled about consumers to influence future communications.

In a report entitled “Millennials and the Mail” the US Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General published findings about how millennials interact with direct mail marketing. Surprisingly, 62% of millennials participating in the survey said they had visited a store within a month of receiving information in the mail. This response outpaced Gen X consumers and baby boomers.

Millennials especially appreciate local business and restaurant coupons. Over 65% of millennials said they liked receiving this type of advertising mail. Ads for restaurants and local businesses without coupons also fared well.

Since technology keeps millennials constantly connected, they are exposed to lots of advertising, but it’s not always effective. About half the members of this generation say they ignore digital ads, but direct mail breaks through the clutter. Perhaps because they receive fewer ads in physical form, 87% of millennials say they enjoy receiving direct mail.

Strategic Print Works with Millennials

That doesn’t mean marketers can revert to traditional “spray and pray” methods for attracting millennial attention via direct mail. This generation doesn’t like to be “sold”. Heavy handed sales pitches will turn off millennial buyers. Honest and straightforward approaches will forge stronger connections with the target audience.

Though they appreciate being contacted by mail, millennials would like to see advertisers making more of an effort through better segmentation and personalization. They will instantly discard irrelevant mail. Updated direct mail that uses multiple channels or technologies such as augmented reality or near field communications will also get attention from millennials.

All advertising should be easy to consume, but messaging aimed at millennials should be brief and easily understood. Save the in-depth details for linked communications you can deliver via video or other formats.

More than any generation before them, millennials are interested in helping others. Campaigns featuring matching charitable donations or other demonstrations of social responsibility will strike a chord with this group.

 

Political Mail for Millennials

Though political campaigns have definitely gone digital, mail remains a critical component of a multi-channel approach. Millennials read their political mail and are more likely to discuss the material with others and visit a candidate’s website referenced on a printed piece. They are also likely to go online to research opponents or be exposed to contrasting views.

In a study by the USPS and the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC), researchers found millennials are accustomed to verifying information through multiple sources. They use political mail as a means to integrate information and access websites and social media relevant to the mail pieces. Printed materials with no online references are viewed by millennials as incomplete.

Political mail can also be an educational resource about elections. Printed materials tell millennials when and where to vote, inform them about registration, or remind them about early voting deadlines.

From a trust perspective, millennials consider political mail as coming directly from candidates. They believe the information is being delivered with no filters or news source bias. This is an important factor considering all the concern about misleading information disseminated via social media.

The AAPC study includes several direct mail design tips and strategies still relevant for today’s national, state, and local elections. Download the white paper HERE for good ideas about how to leverage print for political campaigns.

Millennials are not digital addicts who engage exclusively with online material. They see print as relevant and a good percentage of them have taken action after seeing printed marketing material. If millennials are a segment of your target audience, don’t miss the opportunity to connect with them via print.