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In today’s world, we often do things without even realizing it. We hop in our cars and we rush to the store. We shop, we browse, we touch and feel the products, but often we end up buying that same thing online. Why? Luckily, RRD’s President of Marketing Solutions, Doug Ryan, is here to answer that pressing question. On this episode of Marketing Trends, Doug discusses how the in-store customer experience is shifting toward the virtual world, how something as simple as direct mail can feel so personal, and the three most important things companies can do for their customers during these unprecedented times.

3 Takeaways:

The in-store experience is a crucial aspect of the customer journey, it’s now built to drive people in-store and online

– Direct Mail is experiencing a renaissance. It’s becoming an easy way for brands to break through the clutter.

– With everything customers are going through right now the three most important things are the ability to empathize with them, to create a sense of urgency, and a heightened sense of creativity

Key Quotes:

“I stumbled into a presentation that was going on by a marketing firm and I was just sort of taken by it. It struck me as this whole-brained enterprise where you could bring your creativity to bear, but also bringing your analytical side to the front as well. So from that point, I was smitten.”

“So when the rubber really hits the road, when you really need to get something out to somebody, when you show up in-store, you need to show up in their inbox. We’re the guys who will make sure that it gets there.”

“That’s a part of the equation now too, the total cost of execution. You know, it’s not just a production cost, but it’s really an efficiency of marketing.”

“What we’re doing is trying to bring a digital mindset to what is in effect, not a digital channel. You know, how can you be better about your targeting? How can you be more personalized, all those things that go into a great digital campaign applied to in-store as well.”

“The role of these stores is changing. So many of the stores don’t just function as a place to get product, but they function as a place to showcase product or to create a brand experience.”

“It is an in-store experience and I want to catch that person in a loyalty program or something like that. So what our objective is in there is it in-store experience. It’s actually to drive them online.”

“Where we major in, is what I call the last mile of marketing, which is you have all this in place, but now how do you bring that to market in a cohesive way across all these channels? And that’s the number one problem that I hear is it’s really in the activation.”

“I’m a bit of a brand purpose contrarian. I’m a big believer in the value of a brand. I think it fits in some cases and sometimes sort of it doesn’t, but I’m a big believer in obviously the value of a brand. And to me what the value of a brand is, is really being clear on the value that you’re bringing.”

“There are times when the brand purpose is a really important part of what people are going through in these times.”

“When you’re thinking about a 30-second Super Bowl ad — and a brand anthem — it’s pretty clear how you can help a brand….But there are a lot more touches you have with your customer in other ways….

“Direct mail is having a bit of a renaissance. Direct mail has the highest response rate of any medium. So for many clients, it’s become a way to get through the clutter.”

“In some ways, direct mail is becoming closer to an experiential channel.”

“Good direct mail actually stands out and it’s seen as something a little bit unique to that group. So when I talked about the response rates being highest for direct mail, that actually goes across age demographics, including millennials.”

“We can bring together email and direct mail and it turns out that different categories have different patterns in which they respond to them. But generally, it’s true that the most effective thing you can do is to use both.”

“We’re human beings who live in both the physical and digital world and the real trick is how do we bring those experiences together?”

“A heightened sense of empathy. You always do best when you have your customers’ interest foremost. Right now it’s more important than ever to understand what our customers are going through.”

Stress has many benefits. There’s the adrenaline rush, there’s the focus that it brings. The downside is it limits your focus. It tends to give you a little bit of tunnel vision because you’re just so concerned with survival. What we’ve really tried to stress is how can we be creative in this world? How can we take our experiences and repurpose them.”

“How do we heighten the empathy, how do we heighten the urgency, and how do we heighten the creativity?”

“You never get a better chance to change things, than in your first 100 days.”


Doug Ryan leads RRD’s Marketing Solutions segment, which leverages an integrated portfolio of data analytics, creative services and multichannel execution to deliver comprehensive, end-to-end solutions that drive marketing ROI.

Ryan is responsible for RRD’s direct mail, in-store marketing, digital print and digital solutions businesses. Doug joined RRD in November 2017. Prior to joining RRD, Doug served as President, North America, of Digitas, digital pioneers in one-to-one marketing. Doug was at Digitas for almost eight years, where he grew the P&L by $500 million.

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