Paper Matters Blog
Print, Paper and The Customer Journey

The customer journey is defined as “the complete sum of experiences customers go through when interacting with your brand and making a purchasing decision.” Although the customer journey is often thought of only in the space of digital marketing, but should absolutely be considered in any omni-channel campaign. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each communication medium better ables a designer or marketer to get their message across to their intended target in a fashion that’s meaningful and memorable, while also maximizing the impact of each deliverable created.

Stage 1 – Awareness – During the awareness stage, the goal is to make the target aware of your brand’s existence, peak their curiosity and encourage them to learn more. Often times, the focus is on differentiation—what makes your brand or offering different from what’s already available?

Communication methods: social media, direct mail with PURL or AR content, printed ads, web banners, tradeshows

While most marketers turn to social to generate awareness, direct mail is also a fantastic tool in the awareness stage, particularly if the goal is to convey prestige and differentiation. Why? The stats speak for themselves: direct mail generates 25% higher brand recall than digital advertising alone and people spend 25 minutes with direct mail. Either way, investing in a direct mail campaign is a proven way to boost awareness and get your message across.

But remember, the quality of the end result of a print job is only as good as the paper you print on. Domtar’s Cougar and Lynx brands consistently offer beautiful image reproduction, keeping your audience focused on your message.

Stage 2 – Consideration/shopping – With interest established, now is the time to offer educational and storytelling material to your target in order to establish trust and build an emotional connection. Be a resource. Tell a story that lets you audience know, directly or indirectly, why they should trust your particular brand or offering over the competition. Additionally, what are the consequences of not using your particular brand?

Communication methods: printed brochures establishing emotional connections and highlighting successful, story-telling style case studies, blogs, downloads, customer testimonials, videos, magazines, booklets

Blogs and downloads are great tools for this phase of the customer journey, but printed materials are also a fantastic asset. Greater emotional impact comes from engaging the physical sense of touch, a science called haptics. To amplify this impact, trust the signature velvety-feel of Cougar to add an extra dose of sophistication and memorable texture.

The key in this stage is using storytelling to establish an emotional connection, and the amount of time spent with print (an average of 45 minute with magazines and 30 minutes with catalogs) sells its self. This is the reason why many companies, such as Airbnb and California Closets, have begun to create magazines for highlighting their brand mantras.

Stage 3 – Purchase – At this point, the target is ready to make a decision on a brand/product and make a purchase. Give them the tools they need to feel comfortable—and even excited! —about moving forward and committing to your brand.

Communication methods – printed brochures highlighting practical features and benefits information, comparison style content highlighting your brand over the competition, comparison style content of the usage of different brands provided by your company, in-person demonstrations, product trials

Now is the time to get specific. You’ve already established excitement and an emotional connection with your audience about your brand, now give them the practical information they need about the product to make them feel like they’re making a sound investment. This is a great time to hone in on specifications, customer service, installation, delivery—the practical information they’ll use in their day-to-day lives after the purchase is made.

Printed communications provide a lasting record of this critical information that can be referenced against the competition during the decision-making process. Additionally, a recent study confirmed that print is trusted more than online communications, so a printed component at this stage can add credibility to your content.

Stage 4 – Share – This stage occurs after the customer has purchased your product. Keep the relationship alive by establishing an ongoing dialog and emotional connection to your brand. Show gratitude to your new customer and encourage them to share their experience and delight with your brand. Showcase new offerings and products in an effort to earn repeat customers.

Communication methods – ANYTHING MAILED (loyalty programs, thank you notes, additional meaningful content to help customers get more out of their purchase), social media channels and community platforms dedicated to users

Social media is a great way to keep the dialog going and your brand top-of-mind after a purchase is made. Encourage new customers to share their delight on social! Their kind words will help you talk to other potential customers and help them begin their customer journey.

But, don’t forget about print. People love mail and they love it even more when it’s personalized! In fact, 73% prefer to purchase from brands that use personal information in order to create a more relevent experience. Show your gratitude with the creation of a loyalty program AND celebrate the new customer’s admission into the program with a premium, personalized, nicely designed mailer. Attention-getting options are available in a variety of budgets from variable imaging to variable foil—you’re really only limited by your creativity. From smooth to super smooth finishes, Domtar’s Digital Printing Papers offer a wide variety of options to showcase your brand in exquisite detail.

Don’t let your next marketing campaign become a missed opportunity! Remember to incorporate print to keep your audience engaged throughout every stage of the customer journey.

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Nicholas Pearson
Marketing Specialist
Meredith Collins
Customer Marketing Manager
Danielle Sinclair
Vanecia Carr
Sr. Director Marketing Product & Management
John Parke
Customer Marketing Manager
Paige Goff
Vice President of Sustainability
Deborah Corn
Domtar Paper
Roland Basdeo
Graphic Designer
Susan Jones