As a COVID-19 lockdown hit many countries around the world, businesses both large and small had to up their digital game to service an entirely online customer base. But noticeably, many businesses also chose to turn to print and other tangible media as a physical touchpoint in connecting with socially distanced customers. The value of this medium has been felt on both sides of the exchange, and in particular where a business or branch has succeeded in integrating this “new” offline aspect of the brand experience into their existing and hopefully adapted online user environment.
The new realities of our daily lives, even now as individual countries decide on how best to loosen their previously strict lockdown measures, has spurred some marketers on to better evaluate and recognizing the relative strengths of the different platforms and media available to them, and understand how they might better work together, as part of an omnichannel whole for the benefit of the customer.
This backs up the trend of the last few years which had seen large brands pick print back up as a major player in their marketing and communications strategies, with a particular focus on the collaboration between the off and online mediums, rather than the championing of one over the other. When successful, brands can boast of having implemented an omnichannel approach or to be offering an omnichannel customer experience.
An extensive study by the US Postal Service, entitled Enhancing the Value of mail: The Human Response , was actually produced in 2015, but it continues to be cited as one of the most in depth investigations into how digital and print elicit contrasting responses from consumers. Within these insights are clues as to how marketers can best combine the two channels for the best outcome.
For example, this research into neuromarketing used a combination of tracking, biometrics, brain scans and questionnaires to establish how and why consumers interacted with various physical and digital media. The research established the following revealing insights:
Digital media was preferable for:
Gaining focused attention through advertising
Physical media was preferable for:
Gaining lengthier focus on an ad
Provoking an emotional reaction
Building subconscious desire
Giving the user a sense of the product’s value
A combination of digital and physical media was preferable for:
High engagement and the processing of as much information as possible
Accurately remembering the source and content of an ad
Generating propensity to buy
The paper also noted that there should be further research done into which order physical and digital communications should be used to achieve the company’s goal. This is exactly what the US Postal Service’s UK counterpart, Royal Mail Marketreach did in 2018, with its own Neuro-Insight study, Why Mail Cuts Through . This found that the recall of social media ads was 44% higher when people had seen physical mail first, and that they spent 30% longer looking at those social ads. Of course, figures would vary depending on industry and target audience, but they are particularly relevant in the retail industry. Here we have a stronger argument than most for the effective integration of print media into an omnichannel marketing campaign – and I know that censhare has an insightful whitepaper on this which also discusses how to overcome some of print’s inherent challenges, available for download .
Of course, for omnichannel messaging to be effective, it doesn’t just need to have communications deployed in the right format, at the right time. It also has to present a coherent, unified messaging using assets that make sense in each context and work together to build strong brand salience.
This can be hard to achieve. With so many factors impacting each channel, each execution, it can be difficult to coordinate marketing plans. Each piece of copy needs to echo that which has gone before it while images need to reflect a consistent brand identity and tone of voice.
There may be creative inspiration halfway through a campaign which some elements within the organization may want to act on, but which may impact other departments and so communication and agile decision making is key. Additionally, organizations rely more and more on third party agencies and experts for project planning and execution. Keeping them on brand is another challenge to add to the mix.
The solution? Many brands are using centralized and integrated content management as the cornerstone to their marketing strategies. A central source for marketing assets, but also a hub where people can interact and work with these assets within set parameters, enabling seamless handovers where each stakeholder has clear visibility on what has so far been done and by whom on what collateral and why, and what the next step is under whose remit. This is the fundamental idea behind the processes integral to a Digital Asset Management system (DAM) , but the concept also feeds into other marketing asset management solutions like Product Information Management (PIM) . When these capabilities are also then integrated with a Content Management System (CMS) , it ultimately forms a broader Universal Content Management platform – of which censhare is a leading, if not the only provider.
Universal Content Management is essentially an integrated approach to content and digital asset management, no matter the medium of those assets or data. It is often highly customizable and has many applications, but in the case of managing a truly omnichannel campaign, there are a number of core functions that truly come into their own, including:
The ability to create content, digital assets, and product data just once, and automatically transform it for the required output channels
The adaption of this content for different markets easily and quickly, such as language, price, and product specifications
Process automation for reduced admin, allowing time to be better spent other areas such as optimizing the customer experience
Workflow management for easier collaboration and transparency across teams, regions, and campaigns
This might all sound too theoretical for you, but when the right solution is implemented and used by a team excited to take their omnichannel communications to the next level, the results can be impressive.
For an example of this put into practice by a national retailer, take a look at this success story from MIGROS , which uses censhare Universal Content Management to manage its six million assets, one million pdfs and 14 weekly variants of its magazine across 10 regions, and to align these initiatives with its digital presence and campaigns, steering coherent messaging online, in print, and instore. Happily, the adoption of censhare reduced its agency costs by 15% and its hosting costs by a massive 70% - not bad!
A censhare customer success story – discover how Migros, Switzerland's no.1 retailer, opted for censhare and in doing so, increased efficiency and reduced costs in the production of advertising and marketing materials.Read now