Sales 3.0: Be Ubiquitous – Invest in Print Marketing

For the past few years, Sales 2.0 has been all the rage with its electronic approach to sales and marketing. We’ve been wrapped up with how low-cost and quick e-mail and web marketing are and with trying to reach the widest audience possible with our banner ads. Meanwhile, print has gone by the wayside.

Electronic marketing is efficient, yes. However not enough companies, measure the actual effectiveness of these digital campaigns. Sure, we know we have millions of web hits and send thousands of e-mails monthly but by relying mainly on electronic, we also know that our response rates are actually dropping and aren’t as effective as direct print marketing. According to the Chief Marketing Officer Council, targeted direct print mail has a 4.4 percent response rate versus 0.12 percent for e-mail. And, 79 percent of consumers act on direct mail immediately whereas only 45 percent have the same response with e-mail.  So while we feel efficient sending out so many marketing pieces, we are actually less effective per piece!

Why is this?

  • Our electronic content is being filtered into Spam folders.
  • People are tired of receiving online newsletters.
  • We’re adding more businesses to our list that are irrelevant prospects.

In my opinion, Sales 2.0 is done. Finè. It’s time for Sales 3.0.

A ubiquitous method

With Sales 3.0, we keep electronic marketing, and we balance it with other approaches. John Wanamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don’t know which half.” What he meant is you need to be ubiquitous with your marketing. So, in addition to electronic, give equal emphasis to phone calls and print marketing. Wait, print? Yes, print. You might cringe, picturing the associated cost, but that very feature in itself can be a good thing.

Here’s why:

  • It forces companies to become more targeted with marketing. Rather than send a million print pieces to random people that could be customers, you distribute 1,000 or 10,000 to people who you know are buyers.
  • The cost makes you more aware of a print campaign’s effectiveness. You pay more attention to your return on investment.

With targeted print marketing, you also need to know your audience. Executives tell me they pay attention to items that appear customized for their needs. If it looks like you took the time to understand them ‒ versus an anonymous mass e-mail ‒ they’ll pick up that brochure or catalogue.

For example, one of my clients is a software provider for the home healthcare market, which tends to be low-tech. Therefore, the company’s marketing is low-tech. They find, out of all the marketing methods, postcards work best. Even though this company has cycled through three VPs of Sales that have each said, “We have to do webinars! We need banner ads! We need e-mail marketing!” those approaches have always failed to generate leads because they were aimed at the wrong audience. The VP then leaves and the sales team returns to postcards with better results.  

Add value to your marketing

Another reason to add print marketing for the more ubiquitous Sales 3.0 approach is it gives your company an edge on the competition. Print has been out of fashion for so long, there’s less “noise” in the marketplace and you’ll be noticed.

But, just as with electronic marketing, you should think in terms of “selling” people on your company. This especially goes for young companies that have relied solely on electronic marketing. One of the best ways to attract consumers is to add value with client feedback. Include as many testimonials and case studies as you can in your product brochures and mailings. Think of adding 70 percent value with client feedback and 30 percent marketing. Or, even better, 80 percent value and 30 percent marketing.

Putting it all together

We’ve discussed why adding print makes you more powerful in the market. Now let’s look at how to blend all your Sales 3.0 approaches effectively. The savviest clients I work with recognize the importance of targeting companies at different levels in order to increase response. They create a list of their best buyers and will, for example, send an e-mail on a Tuesday, a phone call on a Thursday and a print mail on a Monday. By increasing their marketing approaches, they can increase the cadence with which they contact the buyer. If you sent three e-mails in three days, that would overwhelm companies and come off as desperate. But, an e-mail, a call and a print piece won’t because it’s a variety of media types. Each one of them feels different to the buyer.    

So remember the Sales 3.0 approach: keep the electronic, and give phone calls and print their equal share in your company’s marketing. A friend of mine with a small consulting firm in Germany always sends out an eight-page newsletter in printed format. And you know what? He just landed the company’s biggest client – a six-figure business – because the buyer happened to read that print newsletter. Are you missing buyers by not embracing Sales 3.0?