How Savvy Marketers Use Print to Boost Lead Generation

Many companies are rethinking the way they attract—and convert—leads into customers.
HubSpot’s Demand Generation Benchmarks Report states that organizations with revenues under $500 million have a mean cost per lead of $180; companies with revenues above $500 million spend more than double that, at roughly $430 per lead.
To compete, savvy marketers are using print to create engaging visual and tactile customer experiences that draw leads in. By adding print and direct mail strategies to their digital marketing mix, they're seeing conversion rates go up. 

Neuroscience research out of Canada Post shows that direct mail is far more persuasive than digital media. Its motivation response is 20% higher—even more so if it appeals to senses beyond touch—because its physical format stimulates the underlying mental processes that guide behavior.  In other words, by engaging more senses, direct mail has the power to drive more action—and more leads—than digital media.  Together, integrated direct mail and digital campaigns capture 39% more attention (time spent) than digital campaigns alone. 

Despite its proven success, digital technologies have been major disruptors to the print industry for decades. Fortunately, industry leaders dealt with the disruption head-on. The print industry has become more efficient while also developing a slew of new technologies, automation, software, papers, inks, and finishes for marketers to take advantage of. 

With the pre-conceived shackles of old-school print removed, the ability to create highly targeted,  memorable, long-lasting experiences that engage customers throughout the buyer journey is driving a new era of creativity fueled by print. At the same time, it’s forcing many digital marketers and designers out of their comfort zones—as they learn how to transform and augment digital campaigns with print. 

Studies have shown that haptic (touch) memory is the type of memory that has the strongest impact on the human brain. Textures and finishes like embossing, debossing, raised ink, foil, glitter, and other enhancements engage customers to do more than just see the print.  It entices them to experience a  truly unique sensory experience  that screams out, “Touch me!” 

Consider the phenomenon of unboxing videos. Millions of people invest five minutes or more watching someone unpack a box. In fact, 62% of people who view unboxing videos do so when researching a particular product. 

If someone is willing to spend 10 or 20 minutes talking about a  product and/or its package and if millions are willing to watch  an unboxing, just imagine how capitalizing on this trend can impact brand awareness—and in turn, customer acquisition. Recent print innovations make it possible for any business to deliver the ultimate unboxing experience. One that stimulates the senses and creates an experience not soon forgotten. 

Unfortunately, a large number of  digital marketers and designers are  unaware of the latest innovations and trends in the print industry— and the important role it plays in customer acquisition, conversion, and retention.  

The print industry’s expertise  spans data, postage, direct mail,  postal regulatory and compliance  requirements; embellishments and  textures; workflow, automation, and  e-commerce software; packaging,  signage, event options and  more. It’s easy to become quickly  overwhelmed by the physical  world of print.  

To help digital designers, printers  are sharing time-saving tools,  templates, tips, and advice on how  print can help their lead gen efforts.  It’s a good idea to tap into the expertise of print service providers  for guidance—from the latest  trends and technologies in papers,  inks, and finishes to up-to-date  legislation and postal regulations,  rates and programs. Working  together, printers, marketers,  and designers can find ways to  boost results while making the  most of budgetary limitations.  

An annual conference guide for Bullhorn, a Shawmut client, is a  recent example of success derived  from collaboration. 

“Industry events are a very stressful  process,” says Kirsten Forsberg,  Senior Designer for Bullhorn.  “There are a ton of printed  

materials to get done along with  signage, event logistics, speaker  coordination, staffing, and so  much more. I couldn’t do it  

all without the support of a cost-effective way to achieve a  similar look to spot gloss effects.  Leveraging Dave’s advice, they also  moved to Mohawk Via for the stock  for the inside text pages which  gave the book a nicer feel. 


For this year’s conference, the team  at Bullhorn was looking to elevate  the guide for attendees. As one of  the most well-attended conferences  in staffing, they wanted to reflect  on their growth and the quality  attendees had come to expect.  Unfortunately, past efforts to raise  the bar on the printed conference  guide hadn’t worked out, so they  sought out a new partner.  

“When we pitched the project to  Shawmut, we were planning on  something similar to what we had  done in the past,” adds Kirsten.  

“But our rep, Dave, wanted to take  things a step further and help us  explore other creative possibilities.  He sent over a ton of samples  too which was very helpful for  our team of visual learners.”  


After consulting with Dave and  reviewing Shawmut’s print samples,  Kirsten and the team ultimately  decided on a strike-through varnish  technique which is an elegant, but  

“Our conference guide and other  print materials really make a  big difference for our attendee  experience,” explains Kirsten.  

“A few years back we skipped the  guide and opted for a 1-pager  and mobile app instead and it  was like

herding cats. We became  painfully aware that the printed  materials were something we could  never do without. We’ve learned  that the conference guide can help  people get the most out of the  experience and many use it years  later for reference.”  

For Kirsten and the Bullhorn team,  partnering with Shawmut led to  new print strategies that fit their  goals. And the best part for Kirsten  is that she didn’t have to do the 

research. She was able to rely on  Shawmut’s recommendations and  plans to do the same next year.  

Whether your leads and customers  come through your website, trade  shows, advertising or referrals,  knowing how to get the most out  of each lead is important to your  bottom line. Savvy marketers  have learned to look at print  through a new lens—and how to  squeeze every drop of its influence  throughout the customer journey.

Tags: Print

Picture of Lisa McEwen

Lisa McEwen

As Shawmut's Marketing Coordinator, Lisa McEwen helps educate clients about the possibilities of print.

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