by Paul Talbot
Small business marketers have made a pronounced march into digital media. But alongside the allure of digital, the effectiveness of printed materials remains strong.
I recently asked Brian Philips, president and chief executive officer of FedEx Office, to share his thoughts on marketing strategy, and recent FedEx Office research on the role of print materials vs. digital communication.
Paul Talbot: Is the shelf life of marketing strategy shrinking, expanding, or staying the same?
Brian Philips: Marketing strategies are expanding. Companies and organizations want and need to maximize their marketing dollars. Taking the time to devise a smart strategy pays off in a better use of resources and stronger results.
We also know our customers consider print essential to their marketing efforts. Even in today’s digital age, businesses see the value of putting physical materials into the hands of their customers and prospects.
In fact, according to the survey results, 92% of small business owners believe quality print helps them compete, and 82% of them are printing items at the same or higher rate than they did the year before.
Talbot: When you review your marketing strategy to make sure it’s relevant and appropriate for guiding marketing activities, what are some of the things you’re looking for?
Philips: We carefully consider customer feedback, insights and behaviors when we define our marketing strategy. We test and refine messages, creative executions and offers to ensure the tactics are engaging, effective and efficient. We are constantly learning and applying new ideas to our efforts.
Talbot: Your research indicates that your target market places growing importance on quality printing solutions. How is this information woven into your marketing strategy?
Philips: Print is the most tactile way to communicate what your brand represents, which makes it key to any comprehensive marketing strategy. Our research indicated that 83% of consumers and 91% of small businesses are more likely to do business with an organization that has professionally printed materials.
We focus on what professional materials allow you to do – drive more sales, close the big deal, solidify the connection between your customers and your brand. We put our customers’ needs at the center of every strategy, and you may notice our marketing consistently highlights the benefits they can expect from quality printing.
Talbot: Is your target marketing changing? If so, how do you monitor these changes, and how are they addressed in your marketing strategy?
Philips: Our target market remains largely the same, but our efforts to target them constantly change as the marketplace evolves. We see great response when we get the right offer and message to the right person at the right time. When we can localize our messages to cities or neighborhoods, we also gain a lot of goodwill with customers, and that’s important to our brand.
Talbot: How does your marketing strategy rank and rate different segments of the target market so that the most appropriate segments are addressed?
Philips: We rely heavily on customer research and data-driven insights. We conduct ongoing studies to define and refine our customer segments, so we are able to understand what motivates them. That allows us to hone in on the segments where we can provide the most value, and we make our marketing decisions accordingly.
Talbot: Any other insights on marketing strategy you would care to share?
Philips: The trick to marketing today is understanding when and how to leverage digital approaches, and when and how to showcase your brand with physical materials to close a sale, win a customer and make a good impression.