Sales is usually the no. 1 use of print materials; however, there are several other needs that can be met through the printed medium. I think that there are three important needs to be met: changing customer needs, gain market share and understanding your customer. They are all somewhat inter-related, but the print product that you use will have to be custom tailored to each need.
All of our customers go through stages of change in what they need from us and they occasionally revert to a previous need. The real question is how to know what stage they are at and recognize that stage in time to facilitate an opportunity for your company. There is a lot of auto-tracking software on the market, but it lacks in intuitive data and feedback options. Print materials such as a simple questionnaire, or something a little more involved, can garner so much more than a piece of software. It can also offer a chance for direct feedback from your customers.
Customer understanding is a buzz phrase that is thrown around in some places without much real knowledge of how to get it. A true understanding of your customer will allow you to anticipate their future needs and focus an effective print campaign towards them. You will also be able to differentiate within your customer base and manage several different campaigns at the same time. Making a customer feel as if you are speaking directly to their current need is an awesome marketing tool.
If you master the first two, you will easily gain market share. That doesn't mean that you can ignore the first two afterward. Market share comes and goes on a regular basis. The only thing that you can do to prevent and manage the ebb and flow is to regularly contact your customer base through print and conversation. E-mail has its place, but print and voice will hold your company name in people's memory better and for a longer period of time.
While going about meeting these three needs is actually different by product, the basic truths are not. A marketing campaign has to meet all of these needs while encouraging new customers to jump onboard. Any print campaign has to be well rounded and cost efficient. A good way to go about it is to be able to use one company for business cards, brochures, sales material and questionnaires. Hopefully, they will offer a mailing option, so that you have less time spent hands-on.
There are new marketing ideas cropping up all of the time. I would love to hear about any one of them.