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Brick and Mortar Marketing – The Printing Problem (Part 2 of 3) with In-store Signage

Last week we examined the challenges of in-store marketing, and what makes it so hard to align your brick and mortar signage with your broader campaigns. We dissected the issue into three problems that marketers must overcome for a successful in-store campaign:

  • The Layout Problem, which we discussed last week, is the challenge of maintaining accurate data about the layout and demographics of your physical locations.
  • The Printing Problem is the challenge of balancing custom signage needs with minimizing printing costs.
  • The Compliance Problem is the challenge of helping your store managers get your signage set up and taken down properly and in a timely fashion.

Today, we’re talking about The Printing Problem, and it’s a good one for all you logic puzzlers out there.

Here’s the dilemma: you’ve solved The Layout Problem, so you know the varied layouts and signage needs of your physical sites. But printing custom sign kits for each store is expensive. There’s an overhead cost to every print job, so how do you minimize printing costs while still getting each brick and mortar site the signs they need? In other words, what is the most efficient combination of signage kits that still accommodates the greatest number of sites?
To get a sense of how tough this problem can be, let’s try a small example. Suppose you have just 10 locations and 10 different signs, and assuming you’ve solved the layout problem, you create the following table detailing the signage needs for each store. The numbers represent the quantity of each sign required for the corresponding brick and mortar site. 

Ok, so you have 10 stores with known signage needs – pretty straightforward. Now, what if your budget only allows for two unique sign kits (two print orders)? How many of each sign goes in each kit? At the very least, one kit must have enough signs to accommodate your largest store in terms of signage needs. But to avoid printing too many excess signs, you must then figure out how small your second kit can be while still providing enough signs for the largest number of stores.

…still with us?

In an example this small, you could probably figure that out by playing with the numbers for a little while. But most examples aren’t this small. So let’s add some realism to this problem:

  • What if you have 800 stores?
  • What if you have 200 signs?
  • What if you don’t have a maximum number of print jobs – you just know that you need to minimize printing costs? Now you’re solving for another variable.
  • And what if you have multiple printing companies with different costs? More variables!

You can imagine that this equation quickly becomes very complex.

So you’ve got a bunch of data that feeds a tough equation, and you need the problem solved fast. What do you do? You write some software that does the math for you, and you integrate it with your store and sign data. You automate your visual marketing production.

We wrote that software, and we call it CrossCap Visual Marketing Automation (VMA). Subtle, we know.

With CrossCap VMA, we do the math for you. We look at each store’s signage requirements (easy, thanks to our store survey tool), we look at your available campaign signs, and we calculate the most efficient combination of sign kits to minimize your production costs while making sure every store has the signs they need to support your campaign. We even create your printing orders for you. All you have to do is send the orders to your printers for quotes, then sit back and wait for shipping confirmations.

CrossCap VMA helps you reduce your printing budget, which means you cut campaign costs, which means you increase campaign ROI. Let CrossCap do the math so you can focus on your campaign. We work with some of the largest brick and mortar retailers, and our customers are making in-store marketing more targeted and cost effective.

So now that we’ve solved The Layout Problem and The Printing Problem, what happens when your signs get to the stores? How do you make sure your local managers put the signs up correctly, and take them down in time? Stay tuned next week for the third and final installment of brick and mortar marketing, when we’ll talk about solving The Compliance Problem.

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