COVID-19 supply chain challenges have impacted products in nearly every industry. One of the most recent being a commercial printing paper shortage. So, what does this mean for marketers? Companies who are used to printing millions of pieces with their web printer need to identify ways to cut down on printing while increasing ROI. The solution lies in targeted marketing and utilizing shorter runs with a sheetfed printing partner.
Wait, There's a Paper Shortage?
The paper industry is being affected (like many other industries) by global supply chain issues caused by the pandemic. Because so many paper mills shut down or switched products temporarily in 2020, they are now incapable of catching up with the unexpected increase in customer demand. The supply issues run through each step of the papermaking process, including wood supply.
With supply and demand off-kilter, it's no surprise that paper prices are skyrocketing in the marketplace. There's only so much paper available, so businesses are facing increased costs to obtain what they can. Additionally, with disruptions to shipping and distribution, foreign sources are not a viable alternative.
It's Not Just Paper
Printing ink has been impacted by many of the same issues leading to the paper shortage. Major ink manufacturers are increasing prices to offset their own costs due to supply chain problems and changes in demand. But that's not all—China has implemented sweeping environmental policies to improve sustainability in manufacturing. Many of the raw materials that inks are made of are being affected by these changes. In addition, the priority on reducing industrial pollution has closed down plants, further reducing global supply.
How Long Until We Can Get Back to Normal?
The paper shortage is projected to last four to six months, and ink supply could take even longer to match demand. But you're asking the wrong question! There is no going "back to normal" anymore. Moving forward, print buyers need to work smarter, not harder.
This means abandoning the idea that if you simply reach enough people, you'll eventually get customers. This strategy—the idea of throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks—is ineffective and drives up your costs unnecessarily.
3 Effective Ways to Maximize Your Print Budget
We've previously discussed leveraging your database and increasing your ROI with targeted marketing. You can achieve better results with targeted messaging to a specific audience than you can with a "spaghetti on the wall" promotion. Three effective ways to reach a targeted audience are intelligent mailing, marketing automation, and personalization.
This versatile approach to marketing makes use of a variety of communication channels, both print and digital. Postcards or brochures can be mailed to specific demographics with custom offers. Personalized URLs can lead to limited offer websites. Social media can boost engagement with your brand. All these and more are techniques you can employ to reach your customers and prospects in new ways. The ability to pivot using real-time analytics if a message isn't resonating with your audience is a major benefit.
Picture the elements of a multichannel marketing campaign. Until recently, someone had to track each step of the process, measure its effectiveness, and deploy the next step accordingly. Now, there are automated systems that can do all these things quickly and with minimal interaction on our part. With an understanding of if/then statements and a platform for computing, any business can automate their marketing processes.
People want businesses to treat them like a person, not a number. Personalization of your marketing materials delivers improved response rates and drives results. The more customer information you have in your database, the more ways you can customize your messaging. By targeting your customers' individual needs, you can boost their engagement with your brand. It's not always just about the bottom line—maintaining relationships is a big part of continued sales.
A Partner Who Does It All
The Vomela Commercial Group provides a unique blend of these services (and more), covering all the bases of a successful multichannel marketing campaign. Our services include printing, mailing, digital campaign management, marketing promotion, and automation. We have the tools and experience to help you engage with your target audience—online and offline.
With everything going on in the printing industry right now, you need to maximize the ROI of your print jobs. Use this global paper shortage as an excuse for creating change in your marketing plans. It's time to rethink the way you identify, segment, and reach your customers. It's time for targeted marketing.