Print is dead, long life print. With print media, it is like with fashion: it all comes back sometimes. The most impressive example is the print catalogue from Amazon, launched for the holiday season 2019. The synonym company for online retail and ecommerce uses a print medium as a gateway to digital. Remarkable.
B2B marketing often heavily relies on “the old way”, the classic above-the-line print based marketing. Sales reps continue to use brochures to explain features to a customer. In a business environment where products and services have a high explanatory effort, the customer meeting and representation by sales remain important. Sales talks may happen in environments where digital tools are not handy. Imagine a sales rep talking about an oil pipeline valve in the middle of the refinery and use his white iPad. A printed brochure on which he can take notes is still something your sales might ask for. Further, mobile devices are often forbidden in sensitive areas of, for example, a production plant. If the sales pitch happens there, your sales will use offline media to back their online content.
This does not mean sticking with just one printed channel. Use the whole range and reuse your content. Produce a digital brochure and use a web-to-print solution to serve your sales rep. Learn from the Amazon example and connect the printed version with the digital one. Think again about our sales rep for pipeline valves. The customer may use his smartphone to see the installed valve via Augmented Reality (AR) once he is back at his office desk. Or a simple QR code to open a YouTube video showcasing various valve applications.
Use the full range of content types and channels. You will need them to address the different buying center personas.
The exact plan on how to use the described full range of content types and channels to reach the customer along the intended customer journey is described as customer journey mapping. This method describes how and where the customer interacts with your company and with your brand. Each touch point needs to be actively managed and offers a chance to provide information.
Having a glance at step #2 and the described channels, funnels and campaigns analysis. According to a user journey map, the combination of marketing channels, content in a campaign, is the ultimate usage of all these basic concepts. Taking the different target groups and buying center personas into account, multiple user journey maps are necessary.
This final step is already merging into step #5 and the creation of the marketing plan itself.