Trends That Changed the Design Industry

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The practice of graphic design is one that is in constant flux. Although there are major elements that drive change every few years or so, industry trends often fluctuate year-to-year, or even month-to-month. 

However, there are a few trends that have transformed the practice altogether, and it’s minor alterations of these trends that designers focus throughout their career. From the introduction of color schemes, to the introduction of sound, to the influence of technology, graphic design has been influenced by a handful of significant changes. In this article, we discuss the four major changes that have shaped the industry. 

 

  • Color 

 

Although it can be argued that graphic design has been around for centuries or even millennia (think the Rosetta stone of 136 B.C. or newspaper design in the 1700’s), it wasn’t until the late 19th century that graphic design began to separate itself as a stand-alone practice. In the 1960’s, it really began to take off when then-Yale professor Josef Albers formed the basis of modern art educations of the twentieth century. 

Albers book, Interaction of Colour, posed a theory that color in design changes in direct relation to its surroundings. Color produces deceptive and unpredictable effects, which allow viewers to engage in a dynamic relationship with two-dimensional space. The way graphic designers use color today is largely based on the ideas and theories put forth by Alder nearly half a century ago. Although it may seem obvious, the impact color has had on graphic design is one of the most significant and substantial trends of the industry. 

 

  • Motion 

 

In taking some of the theories put forth on the use of color, graphic designers over the past few decades began to expand on the notion that audiences can engage with pieces on a deeper level. While color produces subjective effects based on objective surroundings, motion takes this a step further. 

Any believe that motion graphics are as important as typography, and the trend shaped modern graphic design. Pieces of animation or digital footage can create the illusion of motion and provide another way for viewers to engage with the piece. Motion has taken on a more significant role as it’s combined with many technological features that are available today, including audio. 

 

  • Audio

 

When most people think of graphic design, they think of an image on a canvas or a well done website. Sound is usually not one of the main factors. However, when you consider graphic design as a whole, many of the best websites, for example, include some sort of audio dimension. Similar to color and motion, audio provides yet another way for the viewer to connect with the final product. 

What’s more, viewers may not even realized the impact that audio has on their viewing experience. Take a few brand logos for example. If you were to look Intel’s logo, it’s fairly bland. However, the audio that’s associated with it launches viewers into a completely different dimension. Or the iconic “BWWAAHHHH” sound of THX. It may be subtle, but the introduction of audio into graphic design should not be understated. 

 

  • Technology 

 

Of course, what would this article be if we didn’t mention technology? Yes, technology itself is a broad category that can include everything from color, to motion, to audio, to 3D and virtual reality. But it’s technology that is the basis of practically every significant achievement in the field of graphic design, and as we get into a new decade, there’s no telling where technology will take designers in the future. 

While technology gave designers the ability to incorporate motion or audio into their pieces, computers today allow them to create three dimensional portals for the audience to step into, or use sensory design to mimic the phenomenon synesthesia (tasting sounds or hearing colors). 

Color, motion and audio were undoubtable three of the most impactful trends on graphic design today. And while technology helped establish these trends, the technology we have at our disposal today will produce some of the most amazing developments in graphic design we have ever witnessed. Buckle up!

Top 10 Graphic Design Predictions For 2020

Each year there are subtle, yet impactful changes in the trends of graphic design. Designers that are out-of-touch with these trends will be left behind and see their product suffer as a result. 

In order to help combat this and keep graphic creators abreast of imminent developments in the new decade, we’ve composed a comprehensive list of the top 10 graphic design predictions for 2020. Now, go forth and conquer the design world!

 

 

  • Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality

 

2020 is the future, and the future is here. AR and VR have been around for a few years now, but in the new decade these technologies will become a staple in the graphic design world. These “experiences” in design efforts will be used extensively as designers seek to engage readers on a more innate level.  

 

  • Minimalist Landing Pages

 

With the influx of information from virtually every digital outlet in our lives, combined with our increasingly shortened attention spans, sleek landing pages keep audiences more engaged. Next year expect to see pages with less information and simple design schemes. 

 

  • Three Dimensions

 

Similar to AR & VR, 3D is a style that is becoming more and more popular with graphic designers. 3D offers a different technique that engrosses the audience and keeps them intrigued as they gaze as the fascinating elements in three dimensions. Advances in design technology will also make using 3D easier and more user-friendly. 

 

  • Vintage Look (with Earthy Tones)

 

In a change from what we saw in the late 2010’s (and in an effort to reinforce the element of minimalism), graphic designers will use more “throwback” vintage elements into their products. This includes simple images (yes, including simple 3D graphics) and calm, earthy tones. 

 

  • Liquids

 

In an effort to produce designs that reflect agility, movement and liveliness, designers will be incorporating liquids into their products in 2020. By nixing edges, designs achieve a smooth and soft look that creators are seeking in their work. When combined with elements such as transparency and animation, liquids can produce really cool design effects. 

 

  • Animation 

 

As mentioned above, animation is a great way to produce effects that are not only cool looking, but really engage your audience. Many designers and companies use animation to keep their static images or logos come alive, and this trend will increase in the new decade. 

 

  • Interactive Development 

 

A common theme as we move into 2020 is engagement. Designers that develop their web sites, for example, with interactive features such as slides and transitions will really attract users. Interactive development can also be used with design elements such as 3D, AR/VR or animation. 

 

  • Metallic Look 

 

Getting into the use of colors and materials, the metallic look as been ultra-trendy over the past year and this trend will continue. Metallic colors and materials bring a strong graphic element, and because of this they keep the simple, minimalistic design that we’ll see in 2020. Most designers that incorporate the metallic look use gold, which conveys class and luxury. Expect to see golds and silvers as a mainstay in designs in the future.  

 

  • Simplified Illustrations

 

Similar to the trend of an increased use of the vintage look, graphic designers will be developing illustrations that don’t try to do too much. Simplified illustrations don’t distract users, and this look will be very popular as designers seek to keep things simple. Finding a balance between sess noise and more information is key, here. 

 

  • Futuristic Patterns 

 

As we noted in number one, 2020 is the future. And as expected, designers will be using futuristic patterns in the new decade to showcase their place in the futuristic world. This is especially true with corporations that are often seen as stuck in the past. The pillar of this trend is that the future is wide open and unknown. Designs will reflect this idea. 

5 Tools to Improve Marketing Strategy & ROI

Developing a strategic marketing strategy that drives brand awareness, consumer investment and underlying profits is the goal of any marketing team. However, even professionals with years of experience and proven tactics are constantly seeking new methods to improve marketing ROI. 

With dozens of tools available to help marketers, choosing the most effective is challenging. Below are 5 of the best tools to improve your marketing strategy and ROI in 2019.  

 

  • Google Analytics 

 

The first tool on the list may be the most obvious to many marketers. Google Analytics is probably the trendiest digital analytics platform available. It uses big data technology to track web user behavior and provides users with ample amounts of data that can be used to predict consumer behavior. Moreover, Google Analytics offers one of the simplest and cleanest user interfaces out there.

A data-driven marketing strategy that uses a platform such as Google Analytics will provide marketers with predictive models that allow them to answer future questions, problems or issues that may arise. In a recent McKinsey Global Survey, “high performers are more likely than low performers to say their primary purpose with analytics is building competitive advantage—and less likely to say they are simply trying to cut costs.”

 

 

  • Optimizely

 

Staying on the data-driven marketing strategy path, Optimizely is another valuable tool that provides marketing solutions and website optimization on the world’s leading experimentation platform. This platform conducts A/B split tests for websites, apps and mobile devices with innovative features. 

According to a recent publication in Venture Beat, Optimizely is “all about optimizing adoption, engagement, and conversion by tweaking features, such as the wording on a call-to-action button, or by testing entirely new tools on audience subsets before rolling them out more widely.” This allows audience targeting options such as data export, preview mode, stats engine and behavior targeting. 

And perhaps most importantly, it generates ROI in real-time. 

 

 

  • Facebook Insights

 

Switching gears into the world of social media, Facebook Insights allows marketing teams to disclose information of how your businesses social media account is performing. The tools allows users to track the performance of their Facebook page, each individual post and each of your followers’ behaviors. In short, you can optimize your social media presence by examining visitor behavior and make adjustments to your account based on what you see. 

The importance and influence of social media in the digital marketing world cannot be overstated. Facebook Insights is a close examination into how consumers are interacting with your page, and how you can tailor your page to match what your audience needs. 

 

 

  • Agency Analytics 

 

Agency Analytics, allows you to gather not only social media data similar to Facebook Insights, it also provides tools to gather SEO for your business and your clients. The tool is essentially an all-in-one SEO, PPC, social and analytics tool—all of which can be viewed and operated from a simple dashboard. Users can gather data on Google AdWords campaigns and social media networks, for example, and Agency Analytics will generate automated reports of your custom data. 

With Agency Analytics, you can integrate over 30 different platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Mail Chimp, and generate data on user information that you can then use to tailor your marketing campaigns and avoid unpopular or expensive strategies.

 

 

  • Hemingway Editor

 

So far on this list we’ve addressed two heavy hitters in digital marketing strategies: big data and social media. However, the importance that readability offers not only to marketers developing effective and efficient strategies, but also on their audience, cannot be overstated. (If you don’t believe us, brush up on Flesch-Kincaid readability tests and see how important readability really is to the bottom line.)

Hemingway Editor is a tool that improves the readability of your content by examining grammar and giving your content a final “grade”. Moreover, the tool provides suggestions on how to improve your grade and offer the best readable content possible for your audience. 

Yes, developing a marketing strategy that optimizes ROI can be difficult. However, buy using these 5 tools to gather data, tailor your online presence, and make your content readable and user-friendly, you can ensure your business is adapting the best strategy possible.  

Personalization in Marketing: Look to the Numbers to See its Importance

Creating a customer-focused experience is at the top of virtually every successful marketing campaign. And consumers continue to be frustrated with businesses that do not tailor their content to bridge the gap between product and consumer interests. Recent statistics prove that while delivering a personalized experience is more important than ever, it’s often easier said than done.    

Below are some important (and eye-opening) stats that show not only how important personalization is to build customer relationships, but also how consumers believe most companies are missing the mark in this capacity. 

 

Personalization Builds Relationships and Increase Long-term Revenue 

  1. 98% of marketers believe that personalization helps advance customer relationships.
  2. In 2019, 72% of consumers engaged only with marketing messages that provided a customized message that matched their specific interest. 
  3. Personalization engines that are used to recognize customer intent can increase digital business profits up to 15%.
  4. 92% of online shoppers will complete a purchase if there are personalized recommendations or promotions on a business’s website.
  5. A recent study by Gartner shows that 87% of consumers claim that personally relevant content will positively influence their outlook on that particular brand. 
  6. Nearly 50% of consumers have purchased a product they did not intend on purchasing merely because they could personally engage with the content. 

 

Marketers Agree on its Importance

  1. 51% of digital marketers believe that personalization is their number one priority
  2. According to Adobe, 77% of marketers state that real-time personalization is crucial to a successful marketing campaign
  3. 58% of marketers view “original written content” is the most important type of content, outpacing visuals, videos and other content forms that come from other sources.
  4. Nearly 90% of digital businesses are investing in personalization, including Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola, Sephora and Netflix.
  5. 92% of marketers are using personalization techniques in their marketing 

 

Most Marketers Are Still Missing the Mark 

  1. A majority of marketers see room for improvement their personalization marketing efforts, while 70% are moderately or slightly satisfied.
  2. 92% of marketers report using personalization, however, 55% don’t believe they have sufficient customer data to implement it successfully.
  3. A recent study by Adobe shows that 60% of marketers struggle to personalize content in real-time. 
  4. 70% of millennials are frustrated with brands sending them irrelevant marketing emails and prefer personalized emails over batch and blast communications.
  5. On average, 70% of consumers are frustrated by shopping experiences that are impersonal.  

 

Adopting personalized marketing and ad campaigns are critical in order to connect with consumers and drive revenue. Although many marketers believe they are missing the mark or there isn’t enough consumer data to utilize, those companies than can successfully implement personalized strategies will undoubtedly recognize increased profits and happier customers. 

The Importance of Lead Generation for Successful Modern Business

It’s no secret that most successful businesses in today’s environment require a larger audience base and constantly seek methods for improving their marketing strategies to increase this audience. Lead generation is one of the most important aspect of any marketing strategy and acts a stimulant for potential customers. It is the driving factor from initial customer engagement all the way through a final purchase.

This article provides an overview of lead generation, discusses why this method is crucial for successful modern businesses, and argues why lead generation is beneficial for both the buyer and the seller.  

 

What is Lead Generation?

A business lead is anyone that has expressed interest in your product or a desire to utilize your service. Leads may be generated through word of mouth, phone calls, etc., but the most common source is through online engagement, such as your website or advertisements. The abundance of information readily available online has contributed to this through the rise of self-directed buyers. 

Today, there is a wide variety of techniques that successful business capitalize on in an effort to establish potential sales leads before they migrate to the company’s sales division. Bringing in business through lead generation can be one of the most important aspects of a marketing strategy. 

 

How does it Work?

Generally, a typical lead generation strategy for today’s companies begins when a business or agency develops a website or partners with websites to promote and advertise their product. The consumer then locates these informational sites and completes an online quote request form. Their information is then verified and matched to appropriate providers, and a matched lead is sent to employees in the sales department. 

At least that’s the theory. 

Although there are a variety of lead generation techniques, and the practice seems simple in principle, it can be difficult to execute efficiently and effectively. In fact, 1 in 10 B2B lead generation marketers say they have a highly operational and well-organized strategy. However, for those that can establish a successful lead generation scheme, it can pay off immensely.

 

Why is it so Important?

Lead generation is important for a number of reasons, but mainly because of the benefits it offers not only businesses by reach consumers, but also to consumers because it allows them to make the best purchase decisions. 

In addition to being able to target consumers, lead generation also enables businesses to:

  • Choose geographic areas in which their business is interested
  • Choose the product or service they want to offer 
  • Tailor pricing on a per-lead basis
  • Control the number of leads they wish to receive
  • Only pay for leads that are successfully generated 

All of these attributes are important because unlike traditional cold-calls or email blasts, they allow businesses to structure a generation scheme that allows for maximum return and reduced noise. Businesses can now shift their focus from exerting effort to find customers, to concentrating on the customers finding them. 

 

What are Effective Tactics?

As the overarching goal of lead generation is to attract as much quality business as possible, the most effective tactics are the ones that turn leads into sales, and do so with minimal cost. This means looking at a variety of methods that prove to be the best way to get in front of their target customers. 

In the past, companies would focus on buying thousands of leads from brokers, or lead generation agencies. However, successful modern companies are hiring experienced sales people that help support lead generation efforts with publishing highly relevant and relatable content. 

Additionally, successful lead generation campaigns tailor and produce culture-applicable content that is specific to their intended audience. This can mean having content that is easily and accurately translated into various languages for various multi-cultural audiences. 

If done properly, lead generation can be one of the most important, successful and cost-effective marketing tools available. The most successful modern businesses that use lead generation can predict their consumer’s needs, and tailor their message to show why they have the best product or service to match those needs. 

Avoid These Common Mistakes for Effective Mail Piece Design

Direct mail campaigns are one of the most effective tools in a marketing team’s arsenal. It’s one of the best ways to communicate with customers and one of the most important methods for gathering consumer data. However, even the slightest error in the design or mailing process can mean lost customers, and lost business. 

Below are some of the most common mistakes you should avoid when developing an effective mail piece design. 

Not Meeting Minimum Dimensions

When mailing a piece of direct mail, dimensions are extremely important. In fact, when parcels do not meet the minimum requirements established by USPS, the mail becomes undeliverable. There are several reasons why a piece of mail may be undeliverable due to incorrect dimensions. 

One of the more frequent mistakes businesses make is not meeting the minimum height dimension of 3.5”. Some businesses will send out a 3”x5” index card, believing that it would be cheaper. However, this .5” can be the difference between your mail reaching your customer, and it being thrown in the garbage. 

For reference, below are the current postal minimum dimension requirements established by USPS: 

  • Minimum height: 3.5”
  • Minimum length: 5.0”
  • Minimum thickness: .007”

Odd Shapes

Different shapes is a popular way for direct mail marketers to attempt to have their mail stand out from the rest. Although a different shape or size may catch your customer’s eye, it may end up costing you in the end. 

According to USPS, “Certain shapes like squares and tubes are charged a higher price because those pieces must be processed manually. Such pieces are referred to as Customized Marketing Mail, or CMM.” 

Moreover, USPS notes that businesses should not mail “bulky, odd-shaped things like pens or bottle caps in regular letter-size envelopes. You’ll pay more in postage, and the items are likely to damage the envelope and be lost.”

While creativity is an effective marketing tool in some aspects, keeping it simple with direct mail is typically preferred. 

Incorrect Addresses 

Although an incorrect address may seem like an obvious mistake to avoid, incorrect address placement, no return address and elaborate fonts often lead to undeliverable mail. 

For example, postage goes on the top right corner of the parcel. And information on the class of mail, such as First-Class Mail, Marketing Mail, etc., must be printed as part of, directly below, or to the left of the stamp. Also, delivery addresses must go on the front of the mail piece, along with the postage. 

USPS is also pretty specific when it comes to address boundaries. Again, for reference, below are the dimensions USPS currently require for address placement: 

  • 1/2 inch from the left edge of the piece
  • 1/2 inch from the right edge of the piece
  • 2-3/4 inches from the bottom edge of the piece
  • 5/8 inch from the bottom edge of the piece

 

Screening and Imaging 

Issues with screening and imaging are one of the most frequent mistakes seen in direct mail. Screening and imaging refers to how barcodes are read on a specific parcel. The print reflectance requirements must be met by both the barcode and the surface on which the barcode is printed. If these don’t match, the barcode may not be able to be read accurately.

When printing, it’s important to consider the presence of dark fibers on the outside of an envelope or piece of mail, as well as the potential bleed-through of internal photos, security screens, etc. This bleed-through can disrupt the ability of a barcode to be accurately scanned in transit.  

According to USPS, 15% is the maximum print contrast ratio for fibers, designs or bleed-though. In fact, if you’re unsure if your parcel meets this number, you can have it tested by a print design analyst using the USPS envelope reflectance meter.

Making the right choices and avoiding these common mistakes can help ensure you have an efficient and effective direct mail campaign. It can also prevent you from wasting capital on undeliverable mail, and help you increase your consumer response rates.

Double Whammy: Reverse IP and Direct Mail

Although it may be argued by many, direct mail continues to not only be a powerful marketing tool for effectively reaching customers and bring them to action, it’s also outperforming digital ads in a number of ways. Recent studies are showing the positive effects direct mail has on cognitive recognition of consumers, and statistics continue to prove it’s ROI and response rate exceed digital ads. 

The one problem, however, is that with the great migration to digital-based formats for seemingly everything in our lives, it can be difficult to determine physical addresses in order to send this direct mail. This is where reverse IP, or IP targeting, comes in. And the combination of reverse IP and direct mail provide a significant arsenal for marketers and advertisers. 

 

What is Reverse IP? 

Although it may sound complicated at the outset, reverse IP is actually a fairly simple concept. It goes like this: when a consumer visits a website, their IP address is logged by that site. Reverse IP essentially captures that IP address, and with that information you are able to determine the physical address of the users. And when you have the physical address, voilà! Direct mail can then flow. 

One of the main appeals of this type of advertisement targeting is that the ads will only be seen by households on your mailing list. You’re not paying for impressions and click-throughs of people you don’t want to reach (or that don’t have some interest in your information/product). Moreover, because it’s not cookie-based, it’s not blocked or deleted by filters.  

 

What is Needed When Combining Reverse IP and Digital Mail?

Reverse IP can bring the location-specific accuracy that comes with direct mail to multi-impression digital advertising. And while the idea of how it works is simple, there are several components that are needed to ensure a successful interplay between reverse IP and direct mail. These components include, 

  • An accurate mailing list of consumers 
  • A compelling call-to-action for your audience 
  • Content that is attention-grabbing 
  • A landing page that is simple, direct and easy to find 
  • A defined conversion path
  • Post-campaign data that is both current and accurate 

A few of these components should already be available for advertisers with current direct mail campaigns, including an accurate mailing list and post-campaign data. However, many of these will be new for those that are just starting their reverse IP schemes.

By creating attention-grabbing content you will bring consumers to your page, while a call-to-action will force them to act. A defined conversion path will then allow you to convert an action into collection of an IP address, and subsequent physical address.  

What are the Benefits of this Duo?

By delivering mail to hyper-targeted audiences the likelihood that prospects will take notice increases substantially. In addition to this exposure to audiences that you know have at least a notion of your brand or your product, there are also two main benefits that businesses will recognize: increased brand awareness and an escalation in customer acquisition.  

By using reverse IP and direct mail you can target key customer segments that may not have otherwise been targeted. By attracting interested users to your site, they will notice your brand when they click to view the site, while reviewing your site and surfing the web, and finally when that postcard arrives in the mail. This boosts brand awareness, and ultimately will boost direct mail response rates. In fact, campaigns using reverse IP and direct mail have seen average response rates increase between 30% and 70%, with some seeing as much as a 200% increase.  

Moreover, reverse IP and direct mail together are a perfect pair for increasing customer acquisition. By matching your database with the IP and demographic data of a specified audience, you can deliver relevant ads to not only the exact audience you’re aiming to reach, but you can also create “look-a-like” audiences that may not even be aware of their interest. By reaching a new consumer base, you can increase customer acquisition and sales.

Direct Mail Has a Larger Impact on Purchase Decisions than Digital Ads

In today’s digitally-driven world, it’s almost taken for granted that anything that comes in digital form is going to be more successful. We’ve seen this with everything from online shopping to digital reading, and of course how we communicate with friends, family and customers. Managing marketing and advertising should be no different. 

However, recent studies are showing that this may not be the case when it comes to influencing consumer purchase decisions. This article discusses some of the ways that science and statistics are proving that direct mail is having a larger impact on purchase decisions than advertisements that come in the digital form. 

Neuroscience

Despite the growing popularity of marketing and advertising across online media channels, there has been little research into the exact effectiveness of these channels and the impact on consumer purchase decisions. A recent study by Temple University shows that online ads are actually being outperformed in eight out of nine categories by direct mail. 

Temple’s study used 40 digital (email) ads and direct mail ads, and three monitoring methods with their study participants. These monitoring methods included: eye-tracking measured visual attention, fingertip sensors measured bio-response to reveal emotional engagement, and MRI scans uncovered deep brain activity. 

“While participants in this project showed no preference between physical and digital advertising when responding to surveys, neuromarketing techniques revealed different subconscious physiological responses among participants,” according to the researchers. 

The study revealed that although digital ads are grabbing consumer attention faster, direct mail marketing holds consumer attention longer, generates stronger emotions, and has a more significant impact on consumer purchase decisions. 

Statistics 

Aside from scientific research studies, statistical analysis are also proving that direct mail has a larger impact on purchase decisions over their digital counterparts. This includes direct mail outperforming digital ads in response rates, popularity, and the tangible effect that direct mail has on purchasers. 

Let’s look at some of these statistics:

  • Generally, direct mail is providing advertising companies in the US with a 1,300% return, with an average ROI of between 18 and 20%. 
  • Direct mail had a response rate of 4.9%, the highest since 2003, and still pulls a higher response rate than any digital direct marketing medium. 
  • Direct mail is the second-most used medium at 57%, and a staggering 81% of advertisers plan to maintain or increase usage of direct mail in the next year.  
  • As seen from the study above, 76% of consumers trust direct mail when they want to make a purchase decision.
  • US households receive approximately 121.2 billion pieces of mail annually, and across all ages, over 40% of these households look forward to checking their mail each day.  

The constant popularity of direct mail, even with the rise of digital platforms, is largely due to the tangibility and activity that direct mail offers. The motivational response that direct mail offers is 20% higher than that of digital media, and it requires 21% less cognitive effort to process.

 

Ask the Millennials 

Although perhaps not always the best group to turn to when seeking advice, millennials (those aged 23 to 38) are currently the most relevant generation when it comes to general purchasing influences. And it seems that university studies and statistical analyses are right on par with how millennials view direct mail over digital ads. 

In a recent survey of millennials, 30% said that they prefer direct mail as a advertising tool, while only 24% said email. Moreover, millennials are opening direct mail at a rate consistent with their previous generations. In 2018, the opening rate of millennials was 70%. Because of this, direct mails continue to dominate among the marketing techniques used by companies. 

IN addition to all of this, direct mail doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. In fact, it’s expected to grow 5.4% for B2B Direct Sales this year alone. 

Where Direct Mail Fits in Your Omnichannel Marketing Strategy

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Companies do their best to adjust their marketing efforts to an increasingly digital world by becoming more accessible on a variety of platforms. While quantity may make a company more visible, without integration and the ability to move from one channel to another, a company is never fully utilizing their marketing potential. Omnichannel marketing synthesizes marketing channels, letting a customer move seamlessly from one experience to another. A channel marketing professionals may overlook, however, is direct mail. While direct mail isn’t digital and may not appear to connect easily to all digital channels, it fills an often overlooked gap.

What’s the difference between a multi-level marketing strategy and an omnichannel marketing strategy?

Imagine that multichannel marketing is like a yarn made of various strands, with various colors. Now, imagining knitting those strands together to make fabric. That’s omnichannel marketing. An omnichannel marketing strategy takes a multi-level marketing strategy and weaves the multiple channels together together to create one total experience. Both strategies make use of various types digital media, like websites, social media, email, texts, and apps. Simply having all of these at the company’s disposal to attract and retain customers is multi-level marketing. What makes an omichannel marketing strategy different is that are interconnected to create one whole user experience. For example, if a user is on the Facebook app on her smart phone and opens an advertisement for something sold on Amazon the Amazon app will open, taking the consumer directly to the page where she can purchase the item without doing anything more. When she orders the product, Amazon will give her updates in real time by email and by alerts on her phone to let her know when it ships and when to expect it to arrive.

Omnichannel Marketing: is it really all online?

Most multi-level and omnichannel marketing strategies make use of the Internet and all it has to offer because it’s cheaper, easier, and the results can be seen much more quickly. However, that doesn’t mean that print is entirely dead, or that customers don’t respond to direct mail anymore. In fact, every omnichannel marketing strategy should still include direct mail campaigns precisely because it’s offline.

What’s different about direct mail?

It used to be that mailboxes would be inundated with direct mail, and the more shopping someone did, the more direct mail they would receive. Now, however, it’s more rare to receive direct mail from a company, as catalogs and special offer mailings have dwindled in recent years. However, unlike staring at a screen, holding a physical object with your name on it makes a lasting mental impression that digital material can’t imitate.

People don’t like getting things they consider “junk,” but they will keep marketing materials that are tailored to them and their needs, particularly if they’ve already done business with a company. They may use them right away or set them aside, but they’re always still available to them.

Direct mail campaigns can be tailored to customer’s specific needs and integrate with digital channels. Catalogs, direct mail pieces, and postcards can offer things that other channels cannot, like QR Codes, special discount codes, coupons, and free samples.

What if they simply throw it away?

Even if the customer throws the mail away, she still had to hold it in her hand, look at it, and commit to the act of throwing it away. That’s enough time and energy spent to make her remember something about it. On the other hand, she could always delete an email without opening it, or close a pop-up ad without letting the graphic load all the way. However, she has to hold, look at, and read direct mail for at least a moment. At the very least, direct mail is a part of the overall branding experience that captures a customer’s attention where they least expect it: offline. Thus, if you really want to create a holistic, omnichannel marketing strategy, reaching your customers offline through a direct mail campaign is a vital component (and too often overlooked).

The Power and Importance of Visual Branding in Content Marketing

In today’s digital-driven world, developing content for your marketing campaign is no easy task. Consumers are constantly bombarded with content every time they visit a website, check their social media accounts, or open their emails.

Visual content marketing has the power to overcome these impediments for marketing teams, and is extremely important for a successful marketing campaign.

In order to leverage visual content marketing to obtain the best results, marketers must use high-quality graphics that appeal to the consumer and help build their brand recognition. This powerful communication tool can influence the human visual system to deliver information in a compelling and incredibly effective way.

This article discusses the importance of visual branding and provides fundamental keys to successful visual content marketing.

 

Tell a Story

As with any content marketing effort, creating content around a message and executing well is crucial. All of the content that is created should focus around the central aim of your business and tell the story of your brand.

Effective brand storytelling communicates who you are, what you do, and how you can help your customers. Visual content will help you effectively communicate this message in a quick, simple and effective manner. In fact, according to the CMO Council, 65% of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets are core to how their brand story is communicated.

By telling the story of your business, you are able to distinguish your brand from competitors and build trust and credibility with your audience.

 

Appeal to Emotion

The trust that is built by telling your story through visual content allows you to appeal to the emotions of your consumers. Good graphics content evoke specific feelings, and communicate emotion in a way that words simply cannot do on their own. The graphics significantly augment the message of written content, such as blogs, emails, etc.

Science has shown us time and again that most people make decisions on emotions, not logic. The best way to drive people to buy your brand is to appeal to them emotionally first to get them onboard with your product or service. Then, when you offer the features and benefits of what you have to offer, they are already emotionally invested and inclined toward what you have to sell.

Colors, graphics, fonts, images and shapes used in visual content all convey a contrast of various feelings and emotions. Use these to connect with your audience and build your brand.

 

Look at the Numbers

It’s easy to take what we’re saying here for granted. However, when you look at the data behind the power of visual branding, you can really get a firm idea of its importance.

Visual content is crucial to a successful marketing campaign because of its ability to engage with the audience. According to recent studies, visual content gets 94% more views than content without relevant image, 63% of all visitors who click on a Google image will go to that website, and placing an image every 75-100 words can double the number of social shares an article receives.

In addition to engagement, visual content is also much easier for consumers to comprehend. In fact, according to a study performed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the brain can process an image in as little as 13 milliseconds. Think about how long it takes to read simple bullet points on a PowerPoint presentation.

 

Rules of Engagement

Visual content can help you tell the story of your brand and appeals to the positive emotions of your audience, but what is the most effective way to do this? Here are 3 rules of visual content engagement:

  1. Consider Audience Needs. Visual content should be sensitive to the needs of the client. You should deliver content that doesn’t impede web load times or cause viewers to scroll past without engaging in other material.
  2. Keep it Simple. Consider the fact that more than likely, your audience is viewing your content on a smaller device, such as a smart phone. Content that is too busy or hurts the eye means that you risk losing the connection you established with your consumers.
  3. Strike a Balance. Your graphics should resist the urge to use too many words to convey your message. Tell the story of your brand in images as much as possible. Although words are a necessity, don’t let them take priority.

Effective visual content is extremely powerful when used correctly to communicate your message. Visuals lend themselves to creative freedom and spread content in a way that reflects your brand. Develop content that personalizes your business while appealing to your audience and you’ll be very happy with the outcome.