What is driving this fear of out of control print and media costs? What worries the executive? Pain points to the problem. It does not always point to the solution.
There is a valid fear among CFOs that continued dollar loss is unavoidable in print and related communications services. Studies show that in excess of 70% of CEOs distrust the marketing engine. The inability of marketing and communications areas to relate expenses back to profitable company growth stymies a financial analysis. Why settle for this? There are gains to be had. There are profits to be built and encouraged. The activity can be and should be measured with a hard look at Return on Marketing.
Another pain point is the threat of new media channels and mobilization demands. Marketers and executives alike tell analysts they are afraid they and their organizations do not understand what they need to know to adapt. They are thrashing and reading statistics of other attempts in similar organizations in disbelief and despair. What to do? Where to start? How much to spend? Will the long term value traditionally obtained through customer loyalty and persistency be affordable? How many channels of communication need to be engaged to be effective? Which will be life threatening if you don’t engage now even if the expense is unmanageable and lacks decent measurement points?
IT Collision Course
Add to those two the collision of IT and marketing that plagues most companies. IT has been the technology driver and owner of control of data assets. A continual emphasis on security and access and controls has made the information inaccessible and hard to understand for most marketers and communicators looking to take deep dives into segmentation and determine relevant categories of buyers on which to focus. Proliferation of disparate systems within most organizations means the data is not congruently analyzed. Add to that mess, the data was accumulated for operational purposes not for human communications and conversation and concern. It is dry and most times irrelevant. To work in the conversational communications of people to people in which marketing happens, the systems of accumulation and the intelligence behind them must be reworked. You cannot take a financial programmer and build a human sensitive interactive analyst. The change does not work in most instances. Certainly attempting to do it in the speed needed by marketing and communications and sales tasks most companies well beyond the capability of their human resources departments.
Late Adoption of New Media Marketing
Face it. You’ve waited too long. The competition is racing and working with new media and you just got your facebook presence online. It is static and not getting feedback from the right people. Forget about customers in this world. Focus on people. It is people that buy your products. And they are not talking to you. You have done something, but it is just not working. How do you leap frog over the inaction of the last few years when you should have been an early adopter?
Summary and Setup
If you agree with the dilemmas posed above, you know you have to do something about that massive print engine. It is a powerful tool in the Marketing 3.0 Blueprint. Trust me. All those other channels need print to bring them to life. That is one of the lies of the technology thought base. If you buy a lie in the beginning, you will suffer and suffer and suffer. Print is not gone. It is radically changed. It is interactive. It is humanized. It is responsive and direct and timed. It is focused and integrated. Using it in flat and traditional manners will get you decreasing return on your marketing and sales dollars. You need to optimize the engine and take quick advantage of the power of customization and integration of print media with other channels of communication. It is not cheaper to skip print. It is foolish. Neither is it smart to print like you have been printing. That won’t work. You need a new print engine that is dynamic, customized, interactive, data driven, communicative, and humanized.
We will begin to look at the six core areas that must be addressed in a print engine overhaul to build the powerful and competitive approach for your organization. You must.