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A New Model to Solve Marketing’s Most Pressing Problems

February 25, 2019

Marketing industry change is the norm, a constant – and has been for years. In 2018, MarTech Today reported 6,800 available technology solutions compared to the 150 solutions on its initial annual 2011 supergraphic.  That’s a more than 4,000 percent increase in less than a decade.

How to best handle change at that pace? For established brands and retailers, the biggest challenge isn’t adding unfamiliar mediums. It’s integrating new channels and technologies into marketing departments that face a relentless pressure to deliver results while budgets and resources shrink and established processes — “the way we’ve always done it” — remain incredibly difficult to change.

Quad knows a lot about adapting—from the day we opened our first print plant, we’ve understood that change doesn’t stop. We actually set up our plant floor so that we could  move and reconfigure machines to accommodate any job with the most efficient workflow. We followed customers’ needs and because we’re a printer — a maker — we incorporated the ability to do more things to solve their problems.

Ten to 20 years before digital technology began dominating consumer interactions with products and services, and before TV and radio streaming services captured a share of their attention, change forced the print industry to re-make how it served clients. To keep succeeding, we’ve looked ahead and seen what’s next— digital printing, data-driven personalization and then using digital channels to amplify direct response marketing. Today, we’re redefining how marketing should work for clients who struggle to do more with less and keep pace with a demand-based and consumer-led economy.

If we think about what is required to accomplish a truly integrated marketing process, the list would look something like this:

  1. Master process and workflow. So many marketing departments have either started or expanded quickly and by necessity, with separate teams and technology for new channels, each with its own process. The results are major inefficiencies. Even something as minor as different naming conventions for creative assets or a CMS originally set up for print not digital, will add time and money to a marketing campaign.

    We know because we’re experts in streamlined workflows and continuous improvement. It started with producing and delivering millions of pieces of mail — magazines, catalogs, direct mailers, books — each week, on precise timetables. We have a fundamental understanding of and an inherent commitment to high-functioning, connected processes from creative operations through execution.
  2. Do right by data. Marketers have to do more with data than just collect it. We’ve been working with data in increasingly sophisticated ways for more than 45 years. Starting with mailing lists segmented by zip codes and progressing to segmentation by demographics and psychographics, adding terabytes of customer transactional data, then creating virtual panels that yield valuable consumer insights, we use data to drive our clients’ marketing. It’s the currency that allows us to create meaningful personalization to motivate consumers.
  3. Produce high volumes of consistent content. As important as it is, data is only one piece of the marketing puzzle. It must be paired with the mountains of content needed to match consumer wants. E.g. pictures of every sweater in every available color; photos of every type of wall oven, inside and out; shots of every version of a particular pick-up truck model, video of how to install a new faucet, etc. So often we see that clients actually have a gap between the amounts of data they have and usable content. This makes personalization just as impossible as when data wasn’t so available.

    Filling this content gap is the only way to use data to its fullest. Our clients began asking for our help with content — producing the assets for catalogs and direct mail pieces that would grab a consumer’s attention — decades ago. So we kept adding creative capabilities — photography, graphic artists, writers, designers, videographers. Now we’re the largest onsite content producer in the U.S., collaborating in-house with clients to generate material that’s ready for any online or offline channel.
  4. Pull channels into a single stream. Consumers demand the same brand experience wherever they choose to find it. That makes it critical to unite online and offline channels. We know how to do this because print stopped being a stand-alone channel a long time ago. Each new online channel — email, websites, mobile display ads, search engine marketing — presented opportunities to complement and reinforce print media. To optimize our clients’ investment in print, we’ve been creating, managing and publishing digital content for decades.
  5. Know what’s working. Don’t only look at total campaign results; measure individual strategies and tactics. Every CEO and CMO wants to know how much revenue each dollar of marketing spend is generating. Today the focus shouldn’t be on cost per thousand – that’s a legacy term. It’s about cost per response. We understand this because we’ve always measured ROI. Tracking responses is basic to direct mail and catalogs. So it’s second nature to us to incorporate measurement into everything we produce for clients. And to do what it takes to improve results.

In effect, Quad built a true integrated marketing approach almost without knowing it by anticipating and innovating to help customers. Now the value of our model for any brand in today’s marketplace is clear.

Our print expertise gave us the building blocks for this new integrated marketing model. We’re committed to maintaining the best print platform. We own the execution — the hard part. Now we’ve added the other parts to create the strongest integrated offering in the industry.