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How to Add Print Marketing to a Digital-First Brand

Amazon is the latest brand synonymous with digital marketing to add print marketing heavily into its mix. Google did it years ago. But other marketers who think of themselves as digital-first or even “only” can reap benefits from joining the print marketing ranks. Here’s how.

With the demise of Sears, a brand originally known for its catalog and later for having everything from kit homes to dresses, Amazon is snapping up the “everything” printed holiday catalog distinction.

As Melissa Campanelli, though, the Amazon toy catalog is probably meant to replace the defunct Toys”R”Us with its selection of everything from Barbie dolls to Bose electronics.

Here’s a bonus concept: Many consumers are using digital channels to view their direct mail. USPS says the emails it sends customers who want to see pictures of the mail they’re receiving almost always open up every single email — every single day. So digital-first marketers who add print marketing may have the advantage here — they know how they look online. So they can ensure their direct mail looks good to consumers viewing it online.

Simply Force Print Marketing Recipients Online

That said, Amazon is ignoring certain aspects of traditional print marketing—perhaps because it can.

Campanelli writes of the millions of print catalogs Amazon is mailing out:

“No prices are listed. Shoppers have to go Amazon’s website to find out how much the products actually cost. (This was reportedly done by design: The lack of published prices enables Amazon to change its pricing to stay competitive as the season heats up.) In addition, some of the featured toys come with a QR Code, allowing readers to instantly scan and shop for more products. Readers can also scan the product images in the catalog with their Amazon app to get more information and add them to their shopping cart.”

Remaining Digital-First, But Retargeting With Print Marketing

Abandoned carts irk e-commerce marketers. So they’ll often retarget customers on the web, with email reminders and display ads. But there’s another option.

PebblePost, for instance, puts that retargeting on postcards mailed to the cart abandoners. Programmatic direct mail, they call it, as we reported in 2016:

Content Marketing in Print Gives Consumers Conversion Options

Print marketing was actually what its luxury clients preferred receiving, resort community Kukui’ula found in creating its cover wrap content marketing campaign that was placed on a travel magazine. Customers who were specifically targeted as possible home buyers often chose to do further research online — considering Kukui’ula saw an 11 percent lift in website traffic during the campaign.

Direct Mail Recipients to a Landing Page

This is only listed last, because it’s intuitive to marketers. The print marketing-to-online URL seems as though it’s been around as long as the Internet.

Here’s one I wrote in 2009: “Direct mail-to-landing page campaigns are getting PURL-sonal.”

Uh huh. Yeah. I wrote that. And it was popular at the time. And the concept of sending direct mail recipients to a landing page still is — if not a PURL.

What do you think, marketers?

Please respond in the comments section below.

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