Is there benefit to old-world, analog, customer appreciation?

I got to thinking……

Years ago, when you became Adobe Certified, Adobe mailed you a package. In that package was a nice foil embossed certificate, a small Adobe-branded notebook (great quality) and few other little items. It was a really nice way to say “Thank you” or “Congratulations” from Adobe.

Nowadays, you receive a PDF of the certificate and that’s all. I don’t know about you, but a 1-off foil embossed print run is not in my budget 🙂

Years ago, when you purchased software you would receive additional items such as a nice case (or metal tin) for the disc, a manual, a shortcuts cheat sheet, along with occasional other items such as t-shirts, mugs, pens, etc. Some smaller companies still practice this. Most larger companies do not. In fact, over recent years the major software companies have whittled these extras down to, well, nothing. Legal owners aren’t really getting anything that illegal users aren’t getting.

A decade or so ago, it was common practice to send clients or vendors small gifts usually around the holidays as more of a way to say “Thank you for your business/support.” It was also a chance to remind clients/vendors that you are still around.

Nowadays, I see e-cards or holiday emails and that’s about it.

When I started in design, it was common practice to create a self-promo mailer which included your resume, some work samples, along with other items. It has also been common practice to create such self-promotional packages from time to time and send those out to gain new business. Larger agencies still do this business to business. But often the smaller the agency/studio/designer the less likely they are to take this route. At least that is my perception, I may be incorrect.

Some examples:

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So… when a designer chooses to take on a self-promo campaign to either acquire new clients or retain existing clients…….

  • Is there still value in sending these analog packages? Or has everyone pretty much given up and taken the easy way out and only deals with these sort of things electronically?
  • Does it help in client acquisition/retention? Does research exist which would state whether or not the ROI is worth the effort?

Answer

So… when a designer chooses to take on a self-promo campaign to either acquire new clients or retain existing clients…….

Is there still value in sending these analog packages? Or has everyone pretty much given up and taken the easy way out and only deals with these sort of things electronically?

Yes there is still value in sending packages. People still do these in addition to or instead of electronic correspondence.

It depends on what your product is. If you’re a designer that deals in print it would make sense to send printed products. Unfortunately, it’s also costly. Bringing printed materials to trade shows would be a more efficient means of delivery, allow you to show more products, and make sure to some extent that people look at it.

Does it help in client acquisition/retention? Does research exist which would state whether or not the ROI is worth the effort?

The challenge answering here is that ROI is directly correlated to your margins. Using the Customer Lifetime Valuation model

(Average Value of a Sale) X (Number of Repeat Transactions) X (Average Retention Time in Months or Years for a Typical Customer)

Now you can do a short call or a long call.

Allowable Acquisition: If cash is tight then this is a strategy of spending less on acquisition then the first sale you’re going to make.

Investment Acquisition: If you’ve got the cash then you can take a longer term strategy. If you know that your customers generally earn you a profit of N over their lifetime with you, then you can take a loss on the initial purchase if you know the CLV will recoup it within an amount of time you can float for.


Now that our review of ROI is done let’s get into specifics about printed promotional materials.

Perceived value of what you send matters. So for a designer, you better be damn sure your design is on point, materials on point, and anything you can do to give it the look of quality. Laser cut, foils, and folds all come to mind.

At a perceived value of $25+ respondents in a survey were broken down:

  • 27% no change
  • 44% somewhat more receptive
  • 27% significantly more receptive
  • 2% less receptive

Perceived value of $10-$24.99:

  • 45% no change
  • 38% somewhat more receptive
  • 16% significantly more receptive
  • 1% less receptive

Perceived value of $5-$9.99:

  • 50% no change
  • 33% somewhat more
  • 15% significantly more
  • 2% somewhat less
  • 1% significantly less (this was 0 in the above price ranges)

Source: High End, Low End: Which Promotional Products Work Best?

Given that in almost all instances there is greater chance for improved image then for negative image its clear that printed promotional items are a valuable tool for customer acquisition and retention.

I would note since we’re talking specifically about a designer trying to increase their business that two things come to mind:

  1. After price the second most important thing in the survey to respondents was subtlety of brand. The less you push yourself and make it seem like an ad, the better it will be received.
  2. A solid strategy for this as a designer would be to send something out when you learn a new skill or gain access to a new print technique. Alternatively, if you do not have a new skill or technique use some of the fanciest ones and state it somewhere on the gift. A brilliantly designed origami Christmas tree decoration that includes a small card letting the person know all of the different processes and techniques that were involved could be an example. And of course still include Happy Holidays or what have you.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : Scott , Answer Author : Community

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