Image by David Martyn Hunt

I just finished a project with a company that’s so print-loving it blew my mind. I’ll call them Nater’s Skateboards to protect their confidentiality.

First things first: Nater’s Skateboards is a crazy huge buyer of print.

Here’s why it blows my mind that they love print:

  • The company is young, less than two years old.
  • The owner is focused on extreme growth.
  • The customer demographic is a very specific niche that can be easily reached through digital channels.

Shame on me for assuming a young company would have to be convinced to use print.

So why is all this print flowing?

For one thing, the company is hiring people quickly. During the time I worked on the project, they hired four executive managers. They added employees due to a merger. They aligned job descriptions across their locations, so everyone got new job titles.

I know what you’re thinking. Business cards!

Yes, and so much more.

Nater’s Skateboards is finishing their new corporate headquarters, complete with colorful wall graphics, indoor and outdoor signage, and all the print items that feature their new address.

They just acquired a company and changed its name, which required new branded materials for that location.

They dominate the zip codes where their target customers live by sending regular print-mail campaigns.

They spend, spend, spend to acquire new customers.

Serious skateboarders often buy a board every few months, and they have multiple boards in the rotation. Even casual skateboarders spend hundreds of dollars on boards, clothing, shoes, special backpacks and supplies.

In the skateboard world, customers are worth a lot of money.

To reach them, Nater’s Skateboards surrounds customers with video, chat, and social media. They use cool printed stuff to reward fans and build affection.

That’s right. They use print to increase loyalty.

Nater’s Skateboards uses print to woo its customers in unexpected ways:

CLOTHING

  • Influential customers are given branded clothing and promotional items, sometimes signed by pros.
  • Apparel designs are changed often to keep young customers buzzing and buying.

PACKAGING

  • Containers and boxes are highly decorated and very, very well designed.
  • Partner products, like Vans shoes or GoPro cameras, are packaged creatively and prominently displayed.

EVENTS

  • At skateboarding events, tables are piled high with posters, t-shirts, hats, phone cases, accessories, and more.
  • Employees hand out small items such as stickers and postcards.
  • Signs, banners, and colorful pop up booths are used lavishly.

Print is a major touchpoint.

Customers receive regular contact from Nater’s Skateboards, whether it’s a YouTube shout out, a fan video pushed through a chat platform, or a full-color print catalog customized by gender and age group.

Never do they take a customer for granted or back off on the print marketing.

Take aways

If you’re not pursuing new companies because you believe that “young people don’t buy print,” you’re missing a gigantic opportunity. If you can bring fresh ideas, energy and an understanding of their market to a company like Nater’s Skateboards, you could earn a customer that quite literally needs print continuously!


sandy_hubbard_printmediacentrSandy Hubbard is a marketing strategist for printing companies that are going through extreme change or growth. She builds marketing programs that can be sustained over the long haul, with affordable tools and your own people…and without stress! Find Sandy on Twitter at @sandyhubbard each Wednesday at 4 PM ET, assisting #PrintChat host Deborah Corn @PrintMediaCentr with a lively online discussion for printers and those who love print.