Customer calendars are a popular giveaway. But do these print products still offer value in the age of digitization? The challenge is developing a strategy that brings together print and digital communications. We show you how this can be done.
The notorious Pirelli calendar is the most prominent example of the marketing potential that customer calendars have. When its first edition was released in 1964, its makers could not foresee that the exclusive not-for-sale calendar would become a cult object. Even though only important customers and valued business partners receive the calendar as a gift, the release of a new calender created a lot of media publicity for the brand year after year.
However, the first release of the famous calendar, in which renowned photographers such as Helmut Newton photograph equally famous models in artfully erotic poses, also falls into a different marketing era. The early 1960s were a time that the successful cable drama Mad Men only recently resurrected with both a hint of glamour and nostalgia. Print was then the dominant medium next to television and radio. The success of campaigns could not be tracked as well as today. Moreover, target groups were not as fragmented in this long-gone era of mass communication. Today, we live in a narrowcast environment: individual target groups find content tailored to their specific interests online and in a wide range of publications and TV channels.
Do customer calendars still have value under these changed circumstances? After all, many people use their mobile phones to keep track of appointments today. Yet, and the Pirelli calendar is a perfect example why calendars should not solely be defined through their use-value. It is also an aesthetic object adorning consumers' kitchen walls or the offices of business partners.
From this observation, the primary value of a print product is clear: As a material object, it ensures that the brand has more than a fleeting presence in the lives of people. It is an everyday item and as such establishes a visible presence. Other than that, a calendar is also a tool that influences the perception of a brand. A cult object such as the Pirelli calendar makes the brand appear more glamorous and valuable. Since the calendar is not for sale and distributed to customers and partners as an exclusive gift, its recipients feel especially appreciated. People love gifts – even more so when they are exclusive items only they can have.
Print products in digital marketing
Even though digital media have become more common in people's everyday lives, print products can still be relevant. Apart from image cultivation, they can have other positive effects – not in spite of but thanks to digitization.
How can customer calendars be integrated into the digital marketing mix? Learn more in our info graphic:
Communication strategy – existing clients
A business sending out customer calendars to its customers knows that many of them are already looking forward to receiving it. They have become an integral part of the business relationship and serve customer loyalty.
However, businesses do not have to settle for this effect. The goal has to be to make customers curious about new offers. That is why the calendar should include additional information and content with added value such as promotion codes.
Take a fashion brand as an example. The brand bestows customers every year with a calender that features stylish fashion photography. In order to promote the new summer collection, the brand could include a corresponding note in the respective calendar sheet, such as “Discover the new styles for the summer now!” Customers could, for example, be taken to a landing page featuring the summer collection by scanning a QR code with their phones. Since the calendar is distributed in December of the previous year, this approach obviously requires a lot of planning in advance.
The strategy should however be clear: using promotion codes or OR codes to draw customers to digital communication channels so that they continue the customer journey. A positive side effect of this is that marketing tools such as marketing automation software can track the traffic and the traffic source. Businesses now drive revenue with their calendars while keeping track of the effectiveness of the calendar itself.
Communication strategy – new clients
New customers usually find a business online, for example via Google Adwords or social media. The first touch points should link to landing pages. These landing pages ideally offer users an added value. This could be an online game, an entertaining video or an informative white paper.
Users get access to this content by registering on online forms. This is how users become leads and can be marketed to in a personalized way. As soon as they become paying customers, they, too, become recipients of the customer calendar – both as a measure for customer retention and to generate revenue. The circle begins anew.
Businesses bringing print and digital together enjoy the following benefits:
- They improve the brand image.
- They improve customer loyalty.
- They offer customers a rich communication.
- They generate more revenue.
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