Why Vistaprint has designs on small business

Printing business looks to reposition its brand to realise its acquisition of 99designs

When a brand is well known for doing something, it can be hard to educate people that it also does a whole lot more.

For custom printing company, Vistaprint, success in satisfying small business’ printing needs had overshadowed its investments in other digital design services, including its acquisition of the Australian-born freelance design marketplace, 99designs, in October 2020.

“We are incredibly well known for the traditional customised print products around business cards and marketing materials,” Vistaprint senior director of marketing, sales and customer experience, Caroline Swarbrick, told CMO. “But that opportunity has expanded in line with the needs of our customers.”

Armed with a new design digital capabilities and backed by extensive research into the needs of small and medium businesses, Vistaprint has embarked on a global repositioning exercise to inform small businesses of all the other ways it can help them.

This centrepiece of this initiative was the launch of Vistaprint’s US$1.5 million Save Small Business Fund, designed to support small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, and its associated ‘99 Days of Design’ initiative, which has provided a diverse group of 99 small business owners with $15,000 grants. Vistaprint awarded six grants to Ausrtalian businesses, selected from close to 2000 nominations, with all nominees receiving a one month 30 per cent sitewide discount.

Vistaprint undertook an extensive research program through 2021, with Swarbrick highlighting one of the key insights as being that design will be important in helping small businesses to emerge from the crisis.

“We have been growing our services offering in digital and design, so we can be the marketing partner they need,” Swarbrick said.

In June this year, Vistaprint released its Small Business Recovery Report for Australia, which found more than 1.1 million Australian small business owners had made significant sacrifices in the past year to keep their businesses afloat.

The report formed the basis of Vistaprint’s ‘Ready for Anything’ marketing campaign, which showcased unusual situations small businesses could face, and how Vistaprint could help. The local implementation of the campaign was rolled out with support from the integrated communications agency History Will Be Kind (HWBK) and was carried across various digital channels and connected TV sponsorships with Lego Masters Australia and Celebrity Apprentice Australia, and also featured TV presenter, author, and small business founder Sally Obermeder.

“We identified that the audience of Lego Masters Australia, as well as lots of different sporting events, particularly resonated with our small business community in Australia, which also then led to this campaign being run around the Olympics as well,” Swarbrick said.

Swarbrick said the success of the campaign is reflected in the volume of nominations for the grants, and the overall brand buzz created.

“This was a new direction for us, to be talking to small businesses about design rather than just about marketing materials,” she said. “We learned so much from this campaign. Working in this brand space is so new for Vistaprint. We are pretty good at lower funnel, but we haven’t done a lot of talking to Australian communities and business communities about who we are and what stand for.”

With the initial positioning work done, Swarbrick said Vistaprint will continue telling the story of how important design is for small business.

“It is about how can we make it easier for small businesses to do what’s important to them and what they love, because we know a lot of the marketing and design support can also be the peripheral for some people around their business,” Swarbrick said. “Being able to help small businesses to look and feel legitimate and to feel like big brands, but at the appropriate level of support and price point for them, is something that runs through the heart of all of our marketing.”

Don’t miss out on the wealth of insight and content provided by CMO A/NZ and sign up to our weekly CMO Digest newsletters and information services here.  

You can also follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page







Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

More Brand Posts



CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 9 June

Read more

Great e-commerce article!

Vadim Frost

CMO’s State of CX Leadership 2022 report finds the CX striving to align to business outcomes

Read more

Are you searching something related to Lottery and Lottery App then Agnito Technologies can be a help for you Agnito comes out as a true ...


The Lottery Office CEO details journey into next-gen cross-channel campaign orchestration

Read more

Thorough testing and quality assurance are required for a bug-free Lottery Platform. I'm looking forward to dependability.

Ella Hall

The Lottery Office CEO details journey into next-gen cross-channel campaign orchestration

Read more

Great Sharing thoughts.It is really helps to define marketing strategies. After all good digital marketing plan leads to brand awareness...

Paul F

Driving digital marketing effectiveness

Read more

Blog Posts

Marketing prowess versus the enigma of the metaverse

Flash back to the classic film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Television-obsessed Mike insists on becoming the first person to be ‘sent by Wonkavision’, dematerialising on one end, pixel by pixel, and materialising in another space. His cinematic dreams are realised thanks to rash decisions as he is shrunken down to fit the digital universe, followed by a trip to the taffy puller to return to normal size.

Liz Miller

VP, Constellation Research

Why Excellent Leadership Begins with Vertical Growth

Why is it there is no shortage of leadership development materials, yet outstanding leadership is so rare? Despite having access to so many leadership principles, tools, systems and processes, why is it so hard to develop and improve as a leader?

Michael Bunting

Author, leadership expert

More than money talks in sports sponsorship

As a nation united by sport, brands are beginning to learn money alone won’t talk without aligned values and action. If recent events with major leagues and their players have shown us anything, it’s the next generation of athletes are standing by what they believe in – and they won’t let their values be superseded by money.

Simone Waugh

Managing Director, Publicis Queensland

Sign in