From T-Shirt Printing Service To Corporate Swag Management Giant: The Printfection Growth Journey

What if you could send company-branded swag to customers and prospects on demand? No need to carry products to events. No more endless boxes of company t-shirts cluttering your office.

It gets even better. With Printfection, a swag management platform, you can send a direct mail package directly to a prospect in just a few clicks in Salesforce.

Ryan Campion from Printfection recently sat down with me to share some of his marketing lessons learned growing Printfection.

Ryan Campion from Printfection

1) Introduce yourself and the company

I joined the company two years ago. My focus is on driving net new business for the company, engaging our customers effectively, and boosting revenue from existing customers.

Since the COVID situation hit, my focus has shifted. I now spend about 60% on initiatives focused on our existing customers.

2) How has the COVID crisis impacted the company?

Printfection creates branded swag for many use cases, and a big one is trade shows. In the past, we would do 10-12 events per year to meet prospects. Since the virus, that entire channel has evaporated. It has impacted customers and our business as well.

3) What is a marketing win at Printfection that you’re proud of and why?

Right now, it is challenging to land new customers. A lot of customers in the B2B and tech industries are suffering. To breakthrough, we’ve developed a highly targeted outreach effort. Using Outreach.io, we are contacting a list of targeted accounts. In our messaging, we address the pandemic right off the bat. The early results are very promising. We’re seeing double the number of replies that we used to receive. In addition, we are also seeing good results in booking meetings.

Second, we are working on engaging our current customers more deeply. Specifically, we are sending out packages to our customers. We built a work from home comfort bundle. 

Example swag items you can send in a work from comfort bundle.

It includes a package of candles, options to choose from a plush blanket, or slippers, and other items. The call to action on the campaign is to encourage our customers to reach out to their customers with similar engagement items.

From a marketing perspective, this type of outreach to current customers is a way to show that we care and ultimately reduce our churn.

4) With so many offices closed, how do you get up to date addresses to send out packages?

With our product, there’s no requirement to know all of your prospects’ mailing addresses.

In our product, you can direct customers to a custom landing page. They then have the option to choose which item they want to receive. Once they have made a selection, the user then enters their address. You don’t have to worry about asking for addresses manually – it comes up in the platform.

Find out more about how the product’s giveaway feature works here.

5) How are your customers currently using your platform?

In the direct mail world, people are using direct mail a bit less for demand generation. We’re seeing more usage for the platform for employee engagement and to current customers. 

The Giveaway link is a way to engage attendees for virtual events and webinars. We’re seeing people moving some of their spending from tradeshows and there is an interest to boost engagement and attention by giving away products. As work from home continues, it can be difficult to get people engaged in webinars. By sending a package to people in advance of a webinar, you can significantly boost webinar attendance.

You can also give away items to attendees who stay on for the entire duration of your session, or who participate in your presentation, or who perhaps express interest in your solution via a post-webinar survey, for example. 

There are truly many different ways you can leverage giveaways to improve your virtual events. 

Video: See a video on how to use the Giveaway feature in the product.

6) Sending packages out to people can become quite expensive. How do you think about this challenge?

We recommend taking a tiered approach. Say you get 1,000 attendees to the webinar. You probably wouldn’t want to send a premium gift to all 1,000 of them. Instead, you might choose to send items to people who commented or asked questions. Or you could send a package to people who request a demo. You could also send a lower priced item to people who registered but did not engage.

7) What is the most helpful marketing advice you’ve ever received?

I received an insight from the book “Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth” by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares.

The book talks about a methodology about choosing 1 or 2 channels. For example it is best to choose 1 channel. Focus your energy on that channel to see if it is a fit for your situation. Once you have chosen a strategy, test it out quickly and cheaply to see if it is a fit for you.

For example, I focused on outbound email marketing. You start sending out emails and you find out quite quickly if people are interested. When you see results in it, you can invest in tools like Outreach.io to scale up your program further.

Tip: Find out about other SaaS marketing channels like directories and social media.

8) What is your approach to SEO?

Our SEO backlink situation reflects our company’s evolution over time. In the past, we had an entirely different business model. We offered a screen printing service. When users created accounts through the service, there was an easy way to give a link back to our website. As a result, we gained a large number of consumer links.

In 2012, we moved to a more B2B business model. We’ve partnered with an SEO firm earlier in the year to improve our results. As a result, we are shifting our SEO profile to emphasize our B2B target. From a content marketing perspective, I try to publish a new article once every 1-2 weeks.

9) What role does online advertising (e.g. Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads etc) play in your marketing?

Paid search was something we tested a few years ago. We’ve had some challenges with this early on. Since then, we’ve hired a firm to help us with this channel. If you are a software company with a large deal size, paid search makes sense.

We’re seeing good results with competitor-based PPC campaigns. You will see higher CPC. However, it is well worth the expense in light of our customer lifetime value. Our best customers are paying around $30,000 or more per year on swag.

The challenge with paid search is that you end up getting good fit leads (e.g. companies that spend on swag) vs non-fit prospects (e.g. a sports team that wants to use branded swag).

Bidding on a competitor’s name from a keyword perspective is working well because the searcher is relatively qualified.

Aside from Google Ads, we’re starting using LinkedIn Ads in May 2020. 

10) How do you measure your online advertising efforts?

We use Bizible, a marketing attribution software solution. . They help you track the origins of a person when they come to your website.. For example, did people find you through an ad on LinkedIn, a PPC ad, and so forth. 

Also, from a paid search perspective, Bizible can help you determine which keywords are working best. Bizible will tell you more about the searcher’s query, the ad, and see which campaigns and ads are generating results.

11) What marketing metrics do you track on a monthly basis?

There are three metrics that I track regularly:

  • Leads
  • Sales Qualified Opportunities
  • Meetings

While certain “vanity” metrics are important, like click-thru rates, email open rates, etc., they are vastly insignificant compared to aforementioned three, which really determine whether marketing is helping to increase the pipeline. 

12) How has customer lifetime value (CLV) evolved over time?

Over time, we’re seeing CLV generally go up. Direct mail as a channel is coming back into vogue. There are a lot of new competitors coming into our space. Those companies are raising the profile for direct mail as a channel. When you get something physical, that stands out.

13) Which integrations (e.g. HubSpot, Shopify, Slack) have been most effective from a marketing perspective (e.g. driving more traffic)?

Our integrations with marketing automation tools and CRM products have been the most significant. For example, our Salesforce integration gives you the ability to send swag directly from Salesforce, which is incredibly useful for reps trying to net more meetings

14) What company or expert do you follow online to learn the latest marketing?

In terms of companies, I’m a big fan of HubSpot’s content.

In terms of individuals, I’m a fan of Dave Gerhardt (formerly from Drift) on LinkedIn. He is one of the first people I saw doing LinkedIn Ads. It was a non-polished video shot from his phone. I thought that type of candid marketing was really effective because it felt so much more personal than the majority of professionally-produced, corporate ads. 

15) Where should people go to learn more about you and the company?

You can go to Printfection.com and you can connect with me on LinkedIn as well.

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