When Crisis Yields Opportunity – The Pandemic That Changed The Structure of Print Media

Print Media

Changes are part of our lives. But the last 18 months something has shifted in everyone’s life, and this has impacted everyone. It can’t be termed as change but something the people have been forced to do during these trying times. Just a year ago the clients that you had, wanted different preferences, needs, and wants. Now, all that they pining for is a connection, and as a brand promoter, you have the opportunity to deliver that.

So when we are talking about connection, it can’t be done through any campaigns through mails. Quarantined at home, being unsocial and stuck behind the screen, the clients want something tangible, something they can hold in their hands, read, as well as interact in real-time. The answer to this shift is printed materials, which can be synced with digital media. The result will be that the print campaigns can help you to reach out to all those clients who are stuck in the digital world. Direct mail campaigns are more robust and the reach is much higher than any email.

If you need any more bolstering, let’s explain few more facts that show the impact print media can have on your client’s relationship with you:

  • People have fragmented attention when they are using platforms, channels, and devices. With the pandemic pushing us into isolation, we had started spending more time on screens across various platforms. The Covid 19 had exacerbated this fragmentation. So you need to utilize every channel that is available to you, to pass on your message, and that includes the print media. With a cohesive experience, you need to guide the journey of your client through the right Omnichannel strategy. So when we are talking about Omnichannel strategy, then the campaign should be either through direct mail to engaging collateral to high-quality catalogs, etc. The concept of digitalization has innumerable scope. With the adoption of QR code technology, print media has been digitalized. How so? With the help of a smartphone camera, that can easily scan the QR codes thus seamlessly linking the print marketing to any form of digital execution, such as the web page.
  • Before the pandemic hit hurt, targeting the right vertical markets was crucial to the success of any business. However, for the last few months targets markets have changed and have adapted to the new scenario. The B2B (business to business) changed its tactics to B2C (business to consumers) since people were working from home. This situation offered an opportunity to do B2C by doing more aggressive campaigns related to digital marketing and mailing directly. In recent times, it has been observed that B2C continues to use aggressively print media and digital communications to reach out to people working from home.

Also, finding the right verticals is important. Industry segments that were stable during the pandemic such as healthcare, retailers, financial services, pharmaceuticals, were used to reach out to customers with a strong online presence.

  • Before the print service providers delivered great services and products, while the current times is seen with the changing in market needs, the print service providers need to work out on things that will deliver great value to customers. Generic mass marketing campaigns are not at all working. The consumer is looking for good communication and that in turn has piqued the marketer’s interest. The challenge is to create personalized experiences and communication. It was more and more of personalization. With the expansion of personalizing print, there are quite several innovations in digital printing technology. For example, inkjet printing has helped to create personalized envelopes, with full color personalized messages and graphics, of high quality, thus piquing the interest of the consumers.
  • The challenges that the print service providers are facing are in the sphere of providing consumers with engaging, easy, and personalized print and digital interactions. The bar, hence, has been set quite high for the digital marketers, putting immense pressure on print service providers for delivering Omnichannel services. Hence, there is an increase in outsourcing services for the business process, all this is due to the client’s demand for automation of the marketing through technology. This lead to the use of data for 1:1 communication. The email has to be part of an Omnichannel experience since from a standalone perspective it is no longer an effective tool. Millennials are appreciative of the creative pieces that they get in the mail. With direct mail, you can rove in the attention of the consumer, since it takes them to a digital experience, such as QR codes, the Web, or the augmented reality. With the help of these, you can guide the client on the right communication channel.
  • Once upon a time, clients would look for face-to-face communication, but as of now digital interactions are the new form of communication. This has led to virtual meetings, thus improving the digital sales skill of the staff. The virtual meetings led to faster follow-up meetings and an easy way to assemble experts who have an idea on the internal subject matter and the customer decision-makers. With all the meetings being conducted virtually, the efficiency of the terms of the sale gets a notch up by saving both time and money on traveling. The key is that the print providers have to judiciously work out the new sales call process. With the world limping back to normalcy, the virtual meetings need had to make more meaningful.

The concept of digitalization was catching up slowly into the system, however, with the pandemic suddenly striking in, everyone was forced to use digitalization. Hence, there would be many “old school sellers” in the printing industry who has to learn and adapt to new technology. This would again lead to training. Even before the pandemic, there was this urgent need to modernize the sales approach, the situation just expedited the process.

Throughout the years though, communications kept on evolving, the pace was maintained by developing new solutions as to the requirement of the clients. The digital channels as well as the virtual selling was there, the pandemic just made it compulsory and necessary.

  • For the print service provider growth, marketing was important, but in these recent times marketing has to be done across all channels. This is to driving businesses to reach out to new prospects. Usually, there were limited investments for the initiatives in the marketing. However, during this pandemic, the print and market service providers have been forced to develop digital programs, new go-to- strategies in the market, and customer engagement models. These are done by enhancing websites, publishing monthly newsletters, and on LinkedIn; identifying and working on the opportunities to create or speak at virtual conferences.

When the pandemic struck, it served as a facilitator of media digitalization. The year 2020 was a year of restrictions, pushing the people to be at home, and hence digitalization and multiscreen were the new signs of media consumption. Apart from facing financial hardship, the journalists started putting in longer hours, indulging in getting new insights about the outbreak of the disease. They worked in collaboration with the Government to print all the safety and precautionary measures related to the pandemic.

Though the advertising in the print media was in a difficult place this was accelerated with the crisis. However, with people quarantined at home, people were still looking forward to reading. The newspapers and magazines had started publishing articles on sustainable development and this was what made the print media keeping their head high somehow. When the second wave struck this year print media was prepared. Ad rates were slashed so that the ads keep coming. With Brands wanting to communicate about their products, the Print industry provides a credible platform for the brands, with varied discounts. These discounts are not offered to everyone but only to those who have to continue doing business, spelling out the factors like loyalty and relationship building. Since Print media has gone digitalized. Most news agencies have their apps, and people while staying at home can browse more. Even though there is not considerable growth, but there is not any sizeable drop.

Brands have been looking for an integrated solution. Even though the print media was heavily impacted by the crisis last year, this year though readers are reaching out to the digital offerings of the print media. This has resulted in the present way of news consumption, making the brands wanting to make deals with the print publishers for greater coverage. Since print media has not remained solely offline, and it has gone online, helping the brands to reach more. Such plans tend to be more budget-friendly for the brands. Media markets had utilized the opportunity and continue to transmit their content through various digital channels. As the print media continues to struggle, it is believed that it will recover very soon. Because it has been hit by the pandemic and not by any fundamental weaknesses in the global economy.

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