According to James De Waal, head of marketing business imaging group, Canon South Africa, if you have a large format print (LFP) device, posters are probably one of your most popular applications. He discusses five ways you can use posters to add impact, deliver value and boost sales.

If you’re treating posters as commodity work, you could be overlooking chances to add value and increase your margin. Posters have been part of brand promotion for a long time, but their reach and visual impact mean they are still extremely effective and this shouldn’t be underestimated.

Whether to entice a shopper to make an impulse purchase or to nudge a hotel guest to upgrade their stay or book a spa treatment, posters create awareness, hold attention and – importantly – drive business in a measurable way.

Here are five ways you could make posters work harder for your customers and boost your business.

1. Location, location, location

Posters can be very effective for promotion and wayfinding in a range of indoor and outdoor locations for almost any customer – from retailers, to hospitality businesses, corporate clients and event organisers. Their versatility and cost-effectiveness makes them an ideal choice, but location can play a critical role in how they perform as a promotional tool.

Guide your customers on where to place posters to catch customers’ attention, whether that be in a busy travel hub or a cinema foyer, you can show them how to maximise visibility and increase response rates. Talk to them about the scope to introduce ‘hyper-local’ content that’s relevant to a specific location or street, to make their promotion even more relevant to a very closely targeted audience – for example to catch the eye of commuters on a particular public transport route close to their business.

2. Know your media

The range of printable large format media is growing all the time, delivering new performance benefits for you and your customers. It’s worth getting to know the latest products, as they might give you a point of difference with your next job.

For example, a hospitality customer wants a short-term outdoor poster to drive footfall into their restaurant. Normally you would have to laminate it to give it outdoor durability against wet weather. Alternative media choices could make a previously uneconomical job profitable, or give your finished posters the visual or performance ‘wow factor’ that converts a one-off client into regular business.

3. Spell out the digital advantage

Do your customers really understand the digital print advantage when it comes to their promotional activity? Given the popularity of digital marketing, they may have discounted printed posters until now on grounds of economy or speed to market.

It’s time to emphasise the commercial benefits to them of just-in-time print-on-demand. Explain that they can now produce even a handful of printed posters economically, with no wasted prints and no inventory to be stored.

Show them how digital print means they could be fast to market, with their posters turned around within as little as 24 hours, and with variable content for each campaign location.
Also highlight how on-demand print gives them the creative flexibility to make late-stage adjustments to their poster copy, so their campaign messages can be up to the minute.

4. Talk about Return on Investment (ROI)

Within a multi-channel marketing campaign, posters can be very effective at spiking interest and prompting consumers to interact with digital content to access more information or even make an online purchase.

This bridge to digital communication channels means that your customers can now track and measure their return on investment from a particular element of the campaign, even down to the individual poster.

Implementing this doesn’t have to be particularly high tech – for example, adding a QR code to a printed poster enables the person viewing it to scan the code using their mobile phone and go straight to an online landing page. Or a localised promotional code can be included with the call to action, to be used at the online checkout or in a text response, helping the brand owner to see which poster locations or creative executions performed best. These are two very practical campaign tracking tools that are easy for customers to implement today, moving posters firmly into the category of ‘measurable marketing’.

5. Beyond promotion

It’s worth remembering that posters aren’t only for promotion. For professional photographers and artists, for example, high quality digital poster prints are a way of monetising their creative work by making it available for purchase. And for personal customers, posters are a popular choice for fine art or large-scale personal photo prints for their home.

With the appropriate business model and the right photo quality printer, these are potential revenue streams that might be worth thinking about. If you already own a professional quality digital large format printer, these simple ideas for adding value in conversations with your customers or pursuing new application opportunities are all well within your reach.

If you’re a commercial printer who’s only ever thought about an LFP as a proofing device, perhaps it’s time to think about how you could expand your promotional print proposition with wide format graphics? There’s no doubt that business owners and marketing decision-makers are still hard pressed to decide which marketing channels to use to grab attention, provoke response and increase sales. Maybe it’s time to remind them of the power of the poster? The business impact for both of you could be bigger than you think.

CANON SOUTH AFRICA (+27) (0) 12 675 4900