Who says the print circular is dead?

On the contrary, some 50 million households receive these print marketing pieces annually, according to a recent Borrell Associates report. And, per the report, annual spend on US newspaper print circulars is actually ahead of spend levels from 15 years ago—with $5.84 billion spent on the channel in 2014.

What’s making print circulars even more exciting is a wise and well-targeted use of marketing analytics. The best marketing analytics helps retailers get their circular campaigns right — capturing consumer eyeballs and generating returns on campaign spend. Marketing analytics gives advertisers the ability to do detailed work, making dozens of inventory-level marketing choices based on the customer histories and outcomes that only a data-driven approach can address.

Print Circulars and Marketing Analytics: Partnering for Success

In pursuit of a best mix for digital and print circulars, let’s look at what analytics can mean for a powerful print circular strategy. In recent work with MarketShare clients, print circular programs have succeeded when the following three ideas were kept in play:

  • Timing helps maximize results. Print circulars are well-suited to limited campaigns during targeted periods of consumer demand—such as holidays and large promotional periods. And marketing analytics can precisely identify those parts of a month, quarter, or year when customers are most likely to respond to offers. Exactly when to distribute will be different for every retailer, but focusing on the week or two leading up to a key timeframe that marketing analytics has helped identify is one clear path to success. Then, consider cutting other weeks that the analytics show are not doing as much for your returns.
  • Optimizing frequency of drops cuts costs. Another way to optimize your circular campaign is to “fire once instead of twice.” That is, after focusing on optimal timing — with analytics helping to identify weeks, and even days within a week, to distribute to your customer base — cut the frequency of drops. In this way, every drop takes place only during the highest-response timeframes, getting your company a bigger bang for its buck.
  • Product placement and sizing drives response and profit. The offers you put on the front and back of your circular are often key to customer impressions of what your company has to offer. Feedback and purchase history, once fed into the right marketing-analytics models, can help marketers decide which inventory should lead within these spots — even if the product ends up being a loss leader to bring a reader deeper into the circular itself.

    Additionally, the size allotted to each product matters less than many marketers think: companies often see success in pulling from a full-page to half-page dedicated to a product. When marketing analytics shows that a featured product on a circular’s half page generates profit comparable to a full-page version, you’ve just found a highly cost-effective way to get more offers into a single section of your next printing.

Applying these and similar strategies—powered by MarketShare DecisionCloud— MarketShare has helped clients increase ROI on print circulars by over 50%.

The right timing, frequency, and content for each drop: these are analytics-based strategies that can drive strong results for your next print-circular campaign — results that everyone can call success!