Monday, 16 January 2017

Good, Cheap or Fast....What's Your Marketing Strategy?

Good, Cheap or Fast....What's Your Marketing Strategy?

I saw this sign a few weeks ago and chuckled at the simple message it was getting over. We all want everything to be the highest quality, as cheap as possible and of course we want it now. However, in the real world there will always be a compromise especially in the online world we all live in now.

Good & Cheap almost certainly won’t be Fast. We all have budgets to work to and everything is delivered just in time. It is possible to produce high quality work that’s good value for money, but the process will not be fast. Look at the budget airlines, they all offer a good service (even Ryanair) that’s cheap, but you need to book weeks or months in advance to get your cheap flight. If you want to book it at the last minute (fast) it’s going to be a lot more expensive to get a flight.

Fast & Good won’t be cheap. Sometimes we don’t want this sort of service to be cheap. We are buying a great service and we want that service fast. Think of a Michelin starred restaurant. You want a great meal and you don’t want to be waiting hours for the food to arrive. To do this the restaurant needs to employ a small army of chefs and servers. They also use the finest ingredients, so it will not be cheap and we wouldn’t expect it to be cheap, would we?

Cheap and fast is unlikely to be Good, something that is rushed within a tight budget is invariably going to be poor quality. Think of a service like Vistaprint. They are very cheap and deliver very quickly, but their quality is patchy at best, using cheap materials to keep the cost down as clients of mine have found out to their cost in the past.

There are some businesses that come quite close to providing all three services, (think McDonalds, but is their food really really good?) but usually there is always some compromise on one of the three.

In business, it’s fundamental to your marketing strategy to decide what market you want to be in and keep to it. It is impossible to be Good, Cheap & Fast all at the same time. It’s no use marketing yourself as a high quality, highly responsive business if you are cutting your prices every week.

Similarly, is not going to help you if you flit between Fast & Good one week to Cheap & Fast the next. Clearly set your strategy out and work with similar people in your intended market to help you achieve this. The sooner you do this the sooner you can start employing the right tactics to grow your business.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

How Can I Make Such a Simple Mistake?

I first wrote my 7 Top Tips for Print Buying in October 2015 and pretty much everything I wrote 15 months ago is still applicable today.  However, I made one glaring error and that was leaving the most important Tip until last.

In my original blog post, I made “Digital Marketing” my seventh and final tip. If I was rewriting this today it would probably be my first tip. I also made no mention of mobile marketing and how mobile technology is changing how we communicate with one another.

Today a marketing plan would be nothing without strategy and tactics for Mobile and Digital Marketing. Print would just be part of the marketing mix along with the hundreds of new ways to communicate.

The more people in communications marketing I speak with the more I hear of the need to have one source of production. One business that understands all the technologies that are needed to implement a marketing plan in 2017. With no duplication of processes, time and most importantly money.

My business now is purely focussed on working with Marketing Communications professionals who appreciate the resources I can deliver to help them achieve their communications strategies.

Have a read of my post on 7-Top Tips for Print Buying. You may also want to have a look at my more recent post on Is Print Relevant inthe Mobile World?

Hopefully you will find my thoughts useful and if you want to take it further and have a chat about how I can help your business my details are below.

Ian CrowEmail: ian_crow@me.comCall: 0333 012 4867

Monday, 10 October 2016

Is Print Relevant in the Mobile World?

However, printed paper is still being used everywhere. This blog takes look at the way printed media is strongly moving forward at a time when mobile devices are dominating the business world. 

According to International Data Corporation  mobile sales have increased by 13% with 341.5 million shipments in the 2nd quarter of 2015 . Printed media volumes have without doubt been affected by this mobile revolution and industry analysts believe that this trend would surely kill printed media. Mobile devices have replaced printed paper in lots of areas. 

However, printed media is still alive and is strongly moving ahead. According to a survey conducted by Document Solutions Company Nitro, 99% of employees review documents on printed paper at some point in time. 

Why do we still print?
People still print in a world with mobile devices for various important reasons. How much relevance each of the following reasons holds can be debated but all of them give paper a place next to mobile devices.

While browsing the content of a webpage, most people skim through the page in 10-20 seconds. However, printed marketing material keeps readers more engaged. If the design is attractive and the content is informative, people tend to read through it and even keep it with them for further reference. To discard the material, readers have to put in some effort as well. 

Paper documents are more legible and easier to read. This is especially true with long documents. Medical studies report that reading long documents on a computer monitor strains your eyes. It also causes fatigue and stiffness. 

Printed documents offer portability to readers. You can take them wherever you go. While it is possible to carry digital documents on a tab or a laptop, not everyone has this luxury.

A digital document is no match to a printed material when it comes to quality and appearance. Based on the type of paper and ink, print materials acquire elegance and style.
When you hand over an attractive brochure to a potential customer, it creates a huge impact on the reader.

Being a physical thing, a printed document can be touched or felt. This physical presence makes a huge impact on the readers. It brings more authenticity to the company branding. Moreover, printed materials stay for days and months in houses and offices, acting as a
convenient reminder. This is in contrast to digital notes which disappear within seconds behind windows and in various Apps.

A printed document can be easily shared with others. Imagine you attend an event and meet new prospects. Instead of asking them to email you or visit your company website, it is easy and effective to hand over an attractive brochure or a flyer. You also don’t have to worry about whether the document you are looking at on your device looks as good on another device. If the recipient can read and understands your language a printed document will work without compromises.

At times, you need to simultaneously check multiple documents to find specific information. This becomes difficult while working on a computer. Printed documents allow you to easily cross check multiple documents.

It is easier to make annotations on a printed page when compared to Word or PDF files. You can write in the margins, take notes, underline, highlight or strikeout a piece of content and quickly mark all the changes required.

While browsing the content of a webpage, most people skim through the page in 10-20 seconds. However, printed marketing material keeps readers more engaged. If the design is attractive and the content is informative, people tend to read through it and even keep it with them for further reference. To discard the material, readers have to put in some effort as well. 

Bridging the gap between Print and Mobile Digital Media
Mobile devices are not a threat to the printing industry. Businesses can integrate both to achieve better results. For instance, you can place QR codes on the printed paper to create cross media campaigns to engage with your clients and prospects on the many different communication channels. 

For example, when readers scan the QR code, it would take them to your company website or to a specific page that you want them to visit. Or you can use document management so ware to digitise your documents. While digital files can be used online, printed paper serves offline purposes.

It is a proven fact that businesses that adapt changing technologies stay ahead of the competition. Mobile technology is not excluded. Mobile devices are taking over some of the roles that printed paper had but there are many good reasons why people still print. The best strategy is to integrate print and digital media to make the best of both worlds. 

Direct mail is also not dead as this article attests to. It is an important part of the marketing mix that, used intelligently, can produce amazing returns on you marketing investment. 

Yes, your data lists need to be accurate, your content relevant, your offer attractive and call to action clear and easy to do, but direct mail works.

If you need any help or advice in delivering direct mail campaigns and integrating them with your mobile marketing and CRM systems give me a call on 0333 012 4867 or email me at

P.S. Just one last thought. Despite our apparent reliance on our digital devices the number of new magazines being published is increasing , so maybe print is more relevant than we think.