Make sure your printing makes a killer first impression!
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Make sure your printing makes a killer first impression!

Make sure your printing makes a killer first impression!

Success for your business in a tough economic environment requires knowing your market better than ever. This means understanding customers’ needs across all touchpoints and enhancing the customer journey as much as possible to win and retain clients.

The way businesses engage with their markets has become a key differentiator in the digital age, where all the rules have yet to be written. Digitalisation has forced all businesses to rethink their customer engagement strategies, especially in terms of the blend of communications and marketing media to use in speaking to the market.

While most touchpoints have migrated online, certain printed elements of an engagement and communication strategy will remain in place for years to come. That does not mean the world of print stays the same, however.

The continuous digital evolution even impacts on print technology. Innovative print technology to improve print security, quality and speed of printed matter all contributes to the customer’s experience,” says Reg Bath, Chief Executive Officer: Technology at InsideData Group.

Today’s fourth-generation digital inkjet printers offer data-driven personalisation, embedded technology and colour-enhanced printed matter on-demand,” Bath adds.

Creative customer journey and experience

Where, how, when, and why does printing fit within your customer’s journey or the customer experience? Bath says mapping your customer experience (CX) from beginning to end will enable you to determine where you can be creative with print, offering more than simple text and a white page in your business’s CX.

You will be surprised about the touchpoints available that you have never considered part the customer journey. A range of mapping tools are available to assist businesses to not only map the journey but monitor and measure the actual engagement at each touchpoint.

Pay attention to the end-to-end experience customers have with your business instead of focusing on individual interaction touchpoints – the whole customer journey is important. Once you have mapped your journey and identified touchpoints, it is important to consider strategic ways of how you can improve your customer experience across touchpoints,” he says.

Personalisation of books, manuals, transactional printed matter, augmented reality (AR) embedded QR codes in printed statements, posters or newsletters and other branded collateral linked to a video message or promotion, as well as attention-grabbing branded stationary, collateral, and display material are some examples of enhanced print touchpoints that can ensure a great customer experience.

The creative options with todays on-demand digital printing to add an element of surprise and excitement addressing customer senses are almost endless.

First impressions last, so embrace the future with cutting-edge print

The continuous battle for customer attention requires businesses to reinvent first impressions. Once a prospect is converted into a customer it is crucial to pursue retention through consistent, out-of-the box, engaging journeys.

Digital disruptive innovations are an integral part of our modern-day customer experiences and print is inescapable: it’s the colourful embedded QR coded promotional material (posters, brochures etc.) in your office and shop, your personalised direct mailer newsletter, the manual, magazine or printed book with integrated AR. “Your success story lies within how you convert these first impressions into lasting experiences and retained clients,” says Bath.

The same but different on-demand printed matter

Marketing teams, brand owners and their agencies are expecting – even demanding – more personalisation and late-stage customisation of print. The ‘now’ generation does not want to wait; they expect agile, flexible solutions that deliver on-demand. Moreover, as ‘data’ becomes the backbone of Industry 4.0, digital printing and inkjet will by its nature cope with this new reality, so whatever is printed can be all the same but also can be all different.

Conclusion

COVID-19 affected the printing industry like all others – we are witnessing major shifts in print as we know it. “We’ve seen a major shift from offset print to digital as market needs change to print-on-demand and shorter print runs,” says Bath.

Another trend that we experienced first-hand is the rapid rise in on-demand, short-run book printing on low-maintenance and cost-effective digital inkjet printers,” continues Bath.

The print industry will continue to evolve with enhanced technology, innovative software, quality and ease of use, lowered production costs and improved security to address the ever-changing consumer demands and needs.

It is important that businesses do not forget that print is an integral part of customer engagement along the customer journey. Print offers a blank canvas and the opportunity to create different variants of these print touchpoints, utilising the innovations print offers to enhance the customer experience.

It is difficult to go above and beyond as opposed to using the old form. And, with print, you generally have an opportunity that is personalisation. So, you can create an opportunity for your customers and give the necessary present-day contact. Tools like custom publication printing, item architect devices, customised flyers, will give your print marketing that competitive edge. – Printing Industry Outlook Trends 2020, by Vivek Ghai

For more information about digital print-on-demand solutions on mapping tools to map and monitor your customer journey, contact 011 611 5000 InsideData or visit www.insidedata.co.za.

Click here to read the article published on page 58 & 59 of the Business Brief magazine.

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Gerda Heyman

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About Reg Bath, Chief Executive Officer: Technology at InsideData Group

Accomplished change maker and business strategist, Reg Bath thrives on tough assignments and business challenges.

With a background in information systems and business development spanning almost 3 decades, Reg has a remarkable aptitude to integrate business systems and processes with humanness. He aligns measurable strategic goals with industry developments and the market landscape as well as the needs and wants of the people involved, from staff and shareholders, through clients and partners to the end-user customer. He values relationships, straight-shooting and social responsibility as high as risk management and operational and financial effectiveness, and believes that organisations create value by harnessing converging technologies to create a human-centred future.

Reg does not only continuously adapt the way InsideData does business, but is also instrumental in guiding InsideData’s clients down the path of getting the most out of their customer communications by connecting and engaging with customers.

About InsideData

Every business needs to engage with its customers and stakeholders. We take data received securely from clients and transform it into valuable direct messaging through a variety of innovative delivery channels to reach those who need to hear or read it. Whether it is in hard copy, email or mobile format, we utilise the most cost-effective and efficient channel for getting the message across and we provide web-based storage for all marketing and communication campaigns. Then, we continuously measure response rates and analyse every communication to help our clients constantly improve and strengthen customer loyalty and stakeholder response.

InsideData has offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban and has won numerous awards for its seamless multi-channel business communication approach for blue-chip clients including Investec, HSBC, Sanlam, Vodacom, the JSE and many more. Visit www.insidedata.co.za to see our services, products and B-BBEE credentials.