Canvas/Print Company Marketing
Printful, GotPrint, and Minted were 3 of the companies whose marketing strategies are analyzed in this brief. GotPrint and Minted are American companies, while Printful is a Latvian-founded company with a heavy presence and market in the United States.
- Printful is an on-demand fulfillment company that offers " e-commerce warehousing and custom print and embroidery product drop-shipping services for online retailers". It was founded in 2013 and regards itself as one of the world's leading custom print-on-demand (POD) companies.
- According to its website, Printful has produced over 20 million printed products since its inception. Latka, a B2B SaaS website, notes that Printful boasts of more than 100,000 active customers.
- During an interview with 2x Ecommerce, Julia Gifford, the former head of marketing at Printful, shared the marketing history and strategies of the company. The company initially had no marketing budget and relied on word-of-mouth marketing in the first 18 months to generate sales. As the company grew, she proffered that the main "customer acquisition channels" included email marketing, technical integration with e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, paid advertising, and content marketing.
- On email marketing Gifford asserted, " Even if they don’t open your emails, they still see your brand name crashing up in front of their eyes, so we find email marketing to be one of the most important strategies". Speaking about content marketing, she opined, " You need to deal with a lot of content marketing to have the pull marketing rather than the push marketing, to have people trust you and for SEO". She added that blogging was proving to be a valuable source of traffic and sharing blog posts on social media created awareness. She added that a full third of registrations on their website came directly from the content shared on their blog.
- On paid advertising, Gifford repeatedly mentioned the effectiveness of using targeted and retargeted advertising. At the time of the interview, Gifford reported that Facebook generated the most referrals and the ads run there showed 5 or 6 times more return on investment gains than Google ads. Targeted ads, that were curated to attract new customers, run throughout the year, while retargeted ads for repeat customers circulated between October and December to drive up holiday sales.
- Other marketing tools mentioned in the interview included SumoMe and Max Traffic. According to Gifford, these tools helped with creating pop-ups on Printful's website that offered discount codes and collected email addresses.
- Davis Siksnans, co-founder of Printful, further reiterates the importance of "right targeting" and how it has worked for Printful. In his September 2020 interview with Forbes, Siksnans offers finding the right niche and right targeting as advice to upcoming entrepreneurs. Commenting on his company's organic growth, "Most growth to Printful comes organically because we invested a lot over the years by producing blog posts, videos, and other content about topics that resonate with our customer base. You want to think about who your customers are and what kind of content they would be searching for, and invest in SEO very early on".
- Printful's reported revenue for 2019 stood at $116 million. Latka reports that the average customer acquisition cost (CAC) for the company stands at $150. While it only takes the company $10 to acquire a new lead, it usually requires 10 to 15 of these new registrations before a purchase is made, hence the CAC.
- Facebook's Ad Library captured less than 12 ads run by Printful since October 2020 and they were all advertising the vacant positions within the organization. Moat, the online depository of banner ads, did not capture any banner ads by Printful. Visual examples of the ads can be found here.
- On its LinkedIn page, GotPrint is described as "an online printer assisting consumers and small- to medium-sized businesses with their print, design and marketing needs". It was founded in 2001 in Toluca Lake, California and now has over 500 employees. GotPrint deals in customized, printed promotional materials such as "business cards, brochures, catalogs, multimedia packaging, signage and banners, home decor, and personalized gifts".
- Heidelberg, a printing machines manufacturer, interviewed the CEO and founder of GotPrint, Raymond Hartoonian. In the interview, Hartoonian reported that GotPrint has over 1 million customers who include SMEs and private customers.
- In the interview, Hartoonian asserted that he spends "a great deal of money on marketing activities, both online and offline", but Heidelberg reported that he was hesitant to reveal the exact details. To this, Hartoonian responded, "We’re just a family business".
- Facebook's ad library has captured several ads ran by the company. The ads consisted of brightly colored photos and clear videos. Moat also records about 74 banners or "creatives" by GotPrint. Most of these banner ads were advertising discount offers.
- According to Zoom Info, GotPrint's estimated 2019 revenue stood at $89 million. Pipe Candy and Inc Fact, business data and insights providers, claim to have information on GotPrint's advertising budget, but unfortunately, the reports require purchasing.
- When forming Minted, co-founder and CEO Mariam Naficy envisioned a niche business that would "crowdsource stationery designs from independent artists, ask consumers to vote for their favorites, produce and sell the best-performing creations and share a portion of revenue with the original designers". Since its inception in 2008, Minted has grown into an online marketplace with a staff of 400 and with a valuation of approximately $733 million. Minted's 2019 net sales as reported by Ecommerce DB stood at $63.3 million.
- In her interview with Entrepreneur, Naficy noted that the company's initial marketing strategy involved paid search and online marketing efforts. She reports that it took a while before any of it paid off. In another interview with Inc.com, Naficy spoke of buying small ads at the back of magazines "we loved".
- Mail Charts, an email marketing campaign aggregator, has captured over 1,900 email marketing campaigns by Minted, possibly pointing to email marketing as one of Minted's marketing strategy. According to Mail Charts, Minted sends out an average of 4 emails per week.
- Facebook's Ad Library captures over 70 ads run by the company from May 2020. The ads are a mixture of videos and banners. Moat records a whole 1,684 "creatives" by the brand. The bulk of the messaging appeared to be advertising new product designs and discount offers and promotions.
Trends in the canvas/print space include the growth of cloud printing, security printing, and the projected venture into packaging for online print operators. Findings in this brief were gleaned from industry practitioners such as Printing Impressions, Focus Label, Brush Your Ideas, Pulp and Paper Technology, among others.
- Focus Label asserts that while cloud printing may have gained "widespread acceptance" in the printing market, more and more printing companies should consider broadening their cloud products. This, the article continues to assert, will incentivize players in the industry to adopt cloud printing on a larger scale.
- The impact of cloud printing includes lowering environmental and financial costs through the eradicating of physical print servers. Further, Focus Label also notes that cloud printing will not only reduce expenses such as overheads, but also remove barriers to competitiveness for smaller print companies.
- Brush Your Idea, an online web-to-print printer, also adds that cloud printing has enough potential to "shape the future of print industry" and can make driverless printing a reality.
- Examples of companies that have adopted cloud printing include Ricoh, Xerox, and Lexmark.
Packaging by Online Print Operators
- Printing Impressions World notes that the entrance of online print companies into packaging is one of the expected trends to be witnessed in the print industry. Packaging, the article notes, has the "highest volumes, growth rates and margins" in the market, yet that has proved the most challenging for these companies.
- The article talks of Italian firm Packly, a web-to-pack software company that has designed software that online print companies can incorporate to aid their packing efforts. Focus Label posits that the proliferation of such software will greatly increase the number of online print companies that can "design, approve and purchase online professional packaging".
- Focus Label proferrs that the Managed Security Services(MSS) is predicted to be the fastest-growing sector in the print industry. This, according to the article, is due to the scarcity of cyber-security experts and the posing risks of "using hybrid cloud environments".
- The article also notes that print companies can offer solutions such as security insights and remote tracking, effectively winning them clients "from suppliers that can't".