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Three Ways to Integrate Print Automation into your Digital Campaigns

August 10, 2021 | By: Leila Wilson | Tags: , ,

Thanks to developments in the digital landscape, most companies have invested heavily in automation as an essential component of their marketing strategies. Advancements in data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence have empowered brands to build sophisticated campaigns that center around crafting meaningful products and experiences for consumers. While the emergence of these digital tools has led to a paradigm shift in the way businesses understand and respond to consumer behavior, one thing remains true—the tangible expressions of our brand are the most powerful tool at our disposal.

In fact, in a recent response rate report, the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) reported that direct mail boasted a higher response rate than email, paid search, online display, and social media combined. The bottom line: print and digital automation are both essential elements of a modern marketing strategy.  

If you’re left scratching your head about where to begin—and how to fit automation into your budget and timeline in time for your next project—we’re here to help so you can reap the benefits (without the risk of upsetting our AI robot overlords!).

Here are a few ways to integrate print automation into your campaigns:

Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs)

Chances are you’re already using some form of an automation tool (i.e., Hubspot, Marketo, Mailchimp, etc.) to execute email campaigns and keep your CRM up to date. Many of these popular platforms can pair and sync with other products, like our print automation tool Banjo, to automatically trigger dynamically rendered print assets via API tokens and/or webhooks, as an event occurs in the customer journey. The possibilities are infinitesend a simple postcard to fill the top of your funnel or a personalized package to keep your most valuable customers loyal and engaged.

Algorithmic Direct Mail

The most effective way to deepen a relationship with existing customers and prospects is to use relevant messaging to ensure that online behavior and offline experiences align. And that’s exactly what Algorithmic Direct Mail is—it takes automation a step further to deliver relevant and contextual content offline. 

Let’s imagine you have a customer who has abandoned your product in their shopping cart. Using your automation platform,  you capture the user’s interactions and purchase history on your website. After a couple of days of no activity, you can automatically send a follow-up postcard to the prospect to capture their attention with a unique discount code for the goods in their cart. When the customer goes back online to follow through with the purchase, you can track their unique code during the checkout process, helping you easily measure ROI. 

Whether you’re retargeting, upselling, or reaching out to new leads, algorithmic direct mail brings your brand top of mind for the consumer and reinforces online behavior. Check out our recent case study to learn how our client, CTAM, uses data-driven marketing to engage customers with high-volume mailers. 

Budget & Timeline

Regardless of whether you’re a team of one or a national brand, we’ve got you covered. Our flexible plans allow you to spend at the pace and levels that are optimal for your business needs. If you want to get your toes wet with a quick test or you’re ready to plunge into large-scale automation initiatives, we’ll work closely with your team to help set up the logic rules and asset templates in time to launch your campaign. The set-up time varies based on the complexity of the data and the number of assets. After an initial planning call, we will be able to provide you with a detailed project timeline, but on average set-up time ranges from a few days to several weeks. Once our team confirms that the data is flowing into the print assets accurately, your campaign will be ready to hit the ground running.

Print On Demand (POD)

With the ability for automation to deliver the right message at the right time, inventory management is a thing of the past. Print on demand (POD) is a model that allows you to print and mail/ship customized products only when an order has been placed in real-time or when a customer meets a criterion in the customer journey. Banjo delivers a self-serve platform for your team to dynamically edit, render, and order custom assets—within parameters that you control. You manage the copy, graphics, and branding. Decide who on your team gets to edit templates and place orders. Once you place and approve the order, we’ll be notified and will handle the rest from printing to fulfillment. 

Our client, Woodspring Suites, allows their team to customize the content and images on marketing collateral in Banjo.

Once Banjo takes over, we use PDF rendering tools to generate the print-ready files for your approval. Simultaneously, we’re calculating the best postage and shipping rates based on the size, weight, and the number of pieces.

Budget & Timeline

Too much of a good thing is usually a bad thing. Hoarding inventory generally has a negative impact on cash flow and carries the risk of becoming less valuable to your client as assets become obsolete. With Banjo, we help teams of all sizes save cash and keep their marketing collateral fresh. Our starter package begins at $250 and entails everything you need to get started. Teams looking for a vast library of customizable assets, reporting, and ongoing support can benefit from our team, business, and custom plans. Our longest set-up to date was 6 weeksincluding custom user groups and over 15+ templates. We’ll work with your team to make sure your products are set up as quickly as possible. As orders come in, we’ll keep you posted along the way with email and tracking updates. After initial setup, all orders are shipped or mailed within two days of submission. 

If you’re not ready to shed those inventory pounds and run a lean, mean, on-demand print machine, analytical tools like Google Analytics and Data Studio are great platforms to use to gain insight to demand levels and how your customers are interacting with your assets. Once you’ve come up with a game plan for POD, you can begin to save on reduced inventory costs as you depart from the existing inventory model. Our recent blog post  An Argument for POD can help you strategize the alternative approach to inventory management.

Smart Folders

Smart folders are a great example of a ‘lite’ fixed automation process. Using a rule-based model, we build a program using deconstructed processes that are broken down into smaller tasks and defined with if-then-else rules. This type of automation works well for recurring assets that get refreshed with new data for ongoing projects. Direct mail pieces, QR code menus, POP kits, certificates you name it, we can build a smart folder for it.

In any smart folder process, our program first scans for a file in a specific folder (usually on a SFTP server). Once you place a file in your smart folder, the process will analyze what the file is, what to do with it, and then send it on its merry way to the next process until the final output file is rendered. In between, a script validates the data to ensure there are no issues along the way.

Budget & Timeline

Smart folders are ideal for companies in need of a rapid solution on a tight budget and timeline. With minimal setup costs involved, you’ll only need to cover the cost of printing the assets. Once we review your sample data, we’ll map the various data sources to your asset templates, establish a schedule based on your needs, (whether that’s multiple times a day or at a specific time during the week), and set you up with a SFTP login so you can drop a file and initiate the process.

And the best part? This process bypasses human intervention. You don’t have to send a single email to initiate the mailing.

Relevancy and context are more important than ever, and businesses that are not incorporating some form of automation into their marketing risk losing revenue and disengaging loyal customers. If you want to explore these different automation options to figure out which is the best fit for your company, drop us a line.