PRINT MARKETING: STILL AN EFFECTIVE TOOL

By Bernadine Buys
In the past few years there has been an abundance of new marketing media available for telcos to use in their marketing campaigns. The days of being limited to the occasional bill insert or newspaper advertisement are long gone. Now we use our websites, blogs, social media, email, Internet, radio, television, billboards, bill messages and point of sale posters as well as print marketing.

With all the new, trendy marketing media available today it’s easy to overlook print marketing in our campaigns in favor of newer, more exciting media. Consider a recent triple-play bundle campaign at Clear Creek Communications (Oregon City, Ore.). We designed a comprehensive three-month campaign for fourth quarter 2010. Our goal was to increase our bundle penetration while rewarding customers who switched to a 2-year agreement with monthly savings and a one-time gift.

We used a mix of media in the campaign: bill messages, newsletter, building signage, community bulletin board, television ads, customer service representative incentives, email, website and targeted direct mail.

During this very successful campaign we nearly doubled our triple-play bundle penetration. To rate the effectiveness of the various media used, we tracked each sale by asking customers how they had heard about our bundles. We were more than a little surprised to learn that the majority of the sales came from our print marketing efforts. Yes, print marketing was the most expensive component of the entire campaign, but it by far yielded the best results.

Evolving Approach

Over the years our print marketing focus has changed from sending mass mailings to a targeted approach. For example, in the triple-play bundle campaign, we targeted our direct mail to only those customers who had the greatest potential to benefit from the bundle reward (CPNI rules were carefully observed). This greatly reduced the cost by limiting the number of pieces being printed and mailed, and allowed us to personalize the direct mail piece to focus on what the customer could save by switching to a bundle.

In summary, the use of a mix of media, including print marketing, to reach potential customers can be very effective. Here are a few tips for your next print marketing project:

Use your customer data effectively. Target your audience and personalize print marketing whenever possible (be sure to follow the CPNI rules).

Make sure your pieces are well designed and visually appealing. Use the same images and slogans in print marketing to complement other media being used.

Engage your customers by placing an interactive barcode on your print material so it can be scanned with a smartphone to access additional information about your services.

Measure your results. Print marketing may seem expensive until you calculate your return. A successful campaign may cost a few hundred dollars today, but over the course of the next year, it may increase revenue by several thousand dollars.

Bernadine Buys is vice president and customer operations manager for Clear Creek Communications. She can be reached at bbuys@clearcreek.coop.