Cutting through the clutter to reach buyers is an ongoing challenge for small and mid-sized business marketers. In this multi-channel world, marketers are most successful using a combination of inbound (be where they go) and outbound (go where they are) tactics.

It starts with recognizing and accepting some basic facts:

  • The environment or channel through which marketing communications are delivered can profoundly impact the way consumers respond.
  • Each communications channel has strengths and weaknesses
  • The most effective marketing communications strategy is the result of integrating and combining media to leverage individual strengths while avoiding each medium’s individual weakness.

On average, it takes seven or more “touches” before a purchase decision is made, according to a study by Sales Force. Today’s top marketers draw upon the strengths of newer digital marketing channels without overlooking more traditional, tried-and-true strategies.

Here are four proven performers to consider when rounding out your marketing plan:

Direct Mail. The strength of direct mail lies in its targeting ability, measurability and memorability. The Data & Marketing Association reports an average response rate of approximately 5 percent for direct mail campaigns using a house file and a 2.9 percent rate for a prospect list. Comparatively, digital channels (email lists, social media, paid search and online display ads) have a combined response rate of 2.6 percent.

With today’s printing technologies, it’s never been easier to create personalized campaigns with relevant imagery and content that really connects with the individual. This in turn generates greater interest, engagement and response. And when direct mail is paired with a digital strategy, like a personalized campaign landing page, you can drive more sales conversions with those who prefer to respond to your offers online.

Promotional Products. A recent study by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), an advertising research and education industry leader, shows that North American  consumers own – and keep – many promotional apparel items. As many as 58 percent of consumers across all age ranges own promotional shirts, and half of consumers own promotional bags or outerwear.

The ASI study also reveals that more than six out of 10 consumers who receive an ad specialty product will give it to someone else when they are finished with it, furthering the advertiser’s reach.

Print Communications. It used to be that scores, perforations, laminations, adhesives and other special techniques had to be added after your piece was printed. Not anymore! Nowadays, advancements in specialty substrates – that’s just means materials you can print on – are not only eliminating costly and time-consuming finishing but also enhancing the attractiveness and utility of your printed pieces.

Synthetic substrates of polyester (not paper!) are gaining application where moisture or wear are of concern, such as menus, offering moisture- and grease-proof performance without the need for laminating. Dimensional substrates in paper and synthetics come pre-scored and ready for folding into boxes, tent cards, pocket folders, door hangers, greeting cards and even golf ball sleeves after printing.

Signs and Banners. Are you missing an opportunity to illuminate an existing sign or freshen up what is often the first visual impression of your company? According to a University of San Diego study, nearly all of the businesses surveyed reported roughly a 5 percent sales increase that could be attributed to changing the design or enhancing the visibility of existing signage.

Make the most of every square foot of your space for informational, promotional or decorative graphics that are no longer limited to walls, windows and doors. You can now take advantage of graphics for floors and even printed ceiling tiles.