Mixing It Up
Knowing what we know now, it's almost quaint to reference that Bruce Springsteen song, "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)". Fifty-seven channels! Ha! If only things were that easy. Now, there are not only thousands of channels, there are millions more where that came from, in about as many mediums—and the power is entirely in the hands of the consumer.
So the thing is, The Boss was kind of wrong—there's always something on. But how do marketers ensure that something is their thing? By opening up the branding channels to include promotional products, that's how (because yes, the power might be in the hands of the consumer, but that also means the lanyards, pens and coffee mugs can be, too). Wanna know how to do it? Don't touch that dial.
Tip 1: Rethink how print plays in.
Despite its naysayers, print is already enjoying a spectacular second act all on its own—and one of the keys is personalization. "Variable data print is doing a heck of a job resuscitating and creating an entire new print category that really didn't exist 10 years ago," noted Glen Rapoport, partner at Proforma Instant Promotions, Toronto, an affiliate of Cleveland-based Proforma. These advanced technologies go a long way to make consumers feel more uniquely targeted—and coupled with something they also can take home? It's a successful combination that adds value to any campaign.
For example, have you happened to see your name on a Coke lately? According to "Coke's Personalized Marketing Campaign Gains Online Buzz," a recent post on WSJ.com, the "Share a Coke" campaign—which has mass-produced bottle labels featuring people's names in the place of its famous logo—has been showcased in more than 125,000 social-media posts since its inception. And while the effort has been a digital boon, it's important to remember that the buzz begins with a printed piece and ends with a tangible, branded item people will keep around. Sound familiar?