Print Does Have A Place In WOM Marketing

The future of audience reach is content — Relevant, relatable content that is.

Attempts at reaching you as a consumer, marketer, or influencer is relentless and at times, overwhelming, isn’t it? How do you decide what to pay attention to?

Many factors come into play at various times but the determining factors are familiarity (brand awareness) and appeal (emotional connection, informational relevance, or inquiring interest).

“To share socially is an impulsive response to the development of strong personal feelings like surprise, anger, fear, disgust, sadness and joy. If you can tie that type of response to your content, it can be very impactful.” Fluid Drive Media informs.

Much like the sales lifecycle, brand value has a self-feeding process of its own and it begins with awareness, furthered by understanding, engagement and finally, reliance.

Let’s back up and discuss how you even become a player in this content war.

As it relates to this topic, let’s discuss two integrated methods: Word Of Mouth Marketing & Print Media.

To reach anyone at all, logically, they first have to “see” and process your message. Inundated with more visual messages than our mind can possibly process in a single day, we rely on our brain’s unconscious to flag what our brain already recognizes. Repeat exposure increases cognition.

There is an unending amount of marketing tips on how to “further your followers” or “increase your content consumption,” but what if you’re just trying to establish a baseline?

Whether you’re a startup, small business, reaching a new market, or reintroducing yourself, someone else already reaches your desired audience. Leverage this existing connection to your advantage.

This is where paid media proves valuable. Aligning yourself with a message they already consume gets your foot in the door and yes, while there are many methods, print advertising is still very relevant if used effectively.

Foliomag.com says “Print is a lead-generation tool! Used correctly, print drives leads to your prospect funnel. Good print vehicles have a mechanism to deliver targeted leads to their advertisers. (Yep, we have one too.) So at the very least, consider print a unique, effective lead generation tool.”

Folio also cites introduction ease, reader focus, longevity, and travel as being reasons to keep print a vital part of your advertising strategy.

Claims that “print is dead” usually comes from the same people that killed it.

Let me be clear: This is not a claim that the future is print. But, it has its place and it can be a trackable, impactful delivery method.

When print media was the primary advertising vehicle, people jumped on and threw everything at it. Only the very strategic really thought about how to calculate an ROI from it. Messaging wasn’t concise, audience-oriented, or action-driven. Advertisements were simply 1-way billboards, thrown out to the masses. Well, those same people have now jumped off as the self-fulfilling prophecy progresses.

Especially in the industries we serve, brand loyalty and information consumption on the move are mandatory. Presence in the market place is achieved by simultaneous variation and consistency. Print can be used as a foundation to propel other methods such as performance marketing, content marketing, and word of mouth marketing.

In fact, a study by Word of Mouth Marketing Association, “State of Word of Mouth Marketing Survey,” says that print budgets are actually expected to increase by 16% in 2014.

The survey also found that 29% expect to increasing spending on offline word of mouth marketing, product sampling (14%) and television (9%).

So, now that the noise has moved out, take advantage of the “uncrowded-ness” in this space. It’s time to shine.

Creative messaging and exceptional design are still the key to attracting engagement. See some great examples here from Creative Blog and AdAge.

Refine your message. Be dynamic. Integrate platforms. Demand action. Track results.

Translating Print to WOM.

After introductions are out of the way and your audience knows your company and is aware of your brand’s presence, that’s where the real bottom-line fun can begin. The ultimate goal is to further all aspects in word of mouth marketing and let them continue the brand value cycle.

Your brand’s “Social Voice,” as Market Share calls them is defined as “online and offline (face-to-face and voice-to-voice) brand mentions and conversations that occur among consumers. “

It was found that overall Social Voice impacted revenue and that in “the cases where we measured both Offline and Online WOM driving sales, Offline WOM had a more significant impact on Outcomes, suggesting that, even in a highly connected world, old-fashioned word of mouth contributes more than social media in these diverse categories.

validation 1. Fan Service

Your own customers are your biggest communication asset. When you convert a customer to a fan (a customer that actively enhances your brand reputation), you’ve basically hired someone to do word of mouth marketing for you. So, enable them! Give them a platform to share their love of you through your website and meaningfully reply to a tweets by name (eh… handle, rather).

Already doing that?  Tweets do get buried into the Twittersphere so I wouldn’t recommend stopping there. People will publicly show you love if you show them public appreciation. Develop a series of print ads telling your customer journey and solicit others to share their story for a chance at being featured (hint, hint… people are most driven by what benefits them).

education 2. Partnerships & Thought Leadership

Take the time to learn what influencers in your realm are doing well and adapt it to what your company offers. This is where you have to put aside ‘how great you are’ and think about what makes you relevant to other people. What can you provide to serve your customers and your industry? What relationships (both in and out of your industry) can you form to make an impact? If you haven’t already, check out Brandscaping immediately if not before. It’s opened eyes, changed conversations, and applies to anyone and everyone in marketing.

world-wide 3. Social Media

That’s right… Contrary to general assumption, social media is only part of the equation. When you invite people to have a conversation with you about you, the two-way street becomes both information-giving and feedback-providing. Embrace this as free, instant research of sorts. Your customer is telling you what you need to hear… Good or bad. The important thing to remember is that the days of controlling what people know about you are long gone. If you’re not saying anything, you’re either not relevant or someone else will do the talking for you.

partnership 4. Public Relations

Again, the demand for content arises. Storytelling and content marketing are the key factors in capitalizing on any aspect of brand value. Vocus asserts “whether you’re a B2C company creating product photos or a B2B marketer making white papers, budget for more content in 2014. You can’t simply curate content and expect to be as valuable as companies who provide it.”
The shareability factor to engage with your valuable information is solely based on the individual’s reception to it. Spike Jones puts it simply; “Ego, info, emo; as long as your content fills one of those buckets, you’re okay,” (via Vocus marketing guide).

Once again, it boils down to value and variety. Don’t ignore perceivably untrendy avenues. Evaluate your brand’s ability, company’s goals, and customer’s needs. Then strategically plan for each form of media that fits. It’s the only way to achieve complete and total audience reach.