It’s no secret that the world is moving faster by the day. Advances in technology are primarily responsible for creating an on-demand society where people are spending more and more time in front of the screen trying to keep up. In recent years, companies have invested heavily in online advertising and marketing campaigns as the most essential way to reach consumers.
However, consumers might be looking for ways to disconnect from technology and ground themselves in reality. With an unprecedented number of people working from home, days are now filled with virtual meetings, online schooling, online fitness, and well, online everything. As a result, consumers are experiencing an unforeseen phenomenon known as screen fatigue. For brands, the time to pivot, or return, to a more multi-faceted omni-channel marketing strategy is now.
Recent studies from the Paper and Packaging Board provide conclusive evidence that people are looking for alternatives, like paper, to technology. In fact, 79% of people surveyed agreed that even as digital technology becomes more advanced, connecting through paper is still essential. People enjoy relaxing with the Sunday Times and reading a book by the pool. Checking the mail has become an event in and of itself. The possibility of receiving a greeting card, handwritten letter, even a direct mail flyer or coupon is exciting.
Integrating print and digital marketing allows brands to reach audiences across both channels. Employing direct mail and email campaigns in tandem is proven to boost performance and lower cost per acquisition of new customers. Don’t send direct mail marketing into the void of empty offices. Use email or social media to encourage audiences to update contact information so they can be reached in multiple locations.
A recent MIT Sloan Management Review study “identified new patterns in consumer shopping behavior and mindset.” Their findings show that there is a real opportunity for small and mid-tier companies to acquire new consumers. Because small businesses are agile and can make adjustments faster than larger corporations, they can experiment with marketing strategies for audience retention and reach. It's essential to use all of the tools in the marketing toolbox to accomplish this goal most efficiently and less expensively. Competing for online attention requires innovative and advanced offline connections.
The offline solution is not necessarily found in something new but a state-of-the-art twist on a tried and true marketing tool. Print. Companies have been reliant on print marketing since the 1400’s when the first printing press allowed large quantities of printed books to reach the masses. Relative to the period, it changed everything. In the 1990s, when digital printing came about, it was used primarily for mass mailings. The print quality was low, but the output and the opportunity massive.
Today, the advancing technology of digital printing is responsible for a new revolution in the printing industry. It’s fast, flexible, and versatile. Imagine high-fidelity, four-color imagery on colored papers, metallic inks on textured surfaces complete with targeted personalization, and that’s just scratching the surface. At Neenah, there are now over 400 certified substrates in popular colors, textures and weights, to choose from to create high-impact, cost-effective campaigns for your business or brand.
Because digital printing uses digital files instead of printing plates, producing high-quality results with minimal setup costs is the new norm. Digital files also allow for customization of individual graphics or text on a print by print basis, making it the ideal choice for personalized marketing materials like direct mail. It’s perfect for small business marketing requiring minute print-runs or start-ups looking for initial quantities of print materials like packaging and labels, in-store signage, brochures, business cards, letterhead, menus, and more.
More businesses and brands are embracing digital print as an efficient and cost-effective way to reach their audiences, and why not? Scott Gasch of Fey Printing says, “Digital printing allows us to be more flexible and can help take out some of the guesswork that is common to print production. Just consider the time and costs savings that come with running one-off comps or press proofs. With digital printing, we can implement immediate changes and continue proofing throughout the printing process. Our customers are happy that the final result looks amazing but didn’t break the bank or result in production delays."
Beyond the obvious benefits to companies producing short-run print projects, digital printing also allows for designers to get more creative and take more risks. Ellie McKenzie of Farmhouse Design advises, “You can design by trial and error since your commitment is not as big. Changes can be made throughout the process. Ask your printer to run things on different papers with different inks. Don’t underestimate your printer’s creativity. They are the experts, and odds are they’ve seen and done just about everything. Before you start designing, ask them what’s new in digital printing.”
Explore 7 is the ultimate example of digital print technology and ultra-creative design in action. Gasch says, “Ellie’s designs had us using the full capabilities of the HP Indigo® 7900. This was our first opportunity to use the new HP Indigo ElectroInk Silver on both the outside and inside cover. It surpassed our expectations. The samples in this piece will make you rethink everything you know about digital printing. We produced holographic foils, handwritten variable data, and an authentic-looking brass rivet on all number of combinations of Neenah colored and textured digital papers. Whatever Ellie could dream up, we brought it to life using digital printing technology.”
Yogev Barak, Head of Strategy and Business Development for HP Indigo, said of seeing the Explore project, "Neenah has once again produced a significant tool that will advance HP Indigo customers' abilities to grow their business. Explore 7 provides a tactile and inspirational resource to showcase the capabilities of HP Indigo to support the groundswell of businesses reopening and answering the call of this new emerging market."
The latest in the popular Explore series by Neenah uses creatively designed print samples to educate designers about the small business retail vertical and inspire ideas for working within this niche market. With a little creative know-how, these pieces can be used or adapted to any business or vertical. To get you started, Neenah even gifts you the dielines for each carefully created sample within the promotion. With Explore 7 as inspiration, you’ll be pairing creative design, digital printing, and powerful combinations of paper to create your own impactful short-run projects.