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5 Reasons Print is still Necessary in the Digital Age

The influx of digital dependence has brought about many changes to marketing, specifically the onset of content marketing; consequently, this has also brought about many changes within the print industry.

These stealthy changes to the print industry have been happening for years as the internet and online marketing have soared. However, some industry pros, in both marketing and print, think that the best strategy to a well-rounded multi-media marketing campaign is to incorporate both printed marketing materials and online marketing and promotion.

Here are 5 reasons why print is still an important, if ever changing, industry in the digital age

1. Multi-Media/Cross-Channel Marketing

Research indicates that a well-rounded approach that combines both print and online marketing strategies is effective in increasing consumer and, in the case of Associations and Nonprofits, member reach. Not everyone surfs the web and is engaged in social media and not everyone goes through their postal mail, trying to determine what’s worth saving and what’s not.

According to Jonathan Mitchell, managing director at Arjowiggins Creative Papers, “Research has shown that cross media campaigns deliver the highest response rates.” Additionally, he purports that “Powerfully designed, high-quality print firmly establishes a brand’s positioning and the value it places on its customers and can create an emotional bond and brand loyalty” (“Paper & print focus: How can print and digital be integrated in the marketing mix?”).

2. Baby Boomers and Older Consumers:

As stated above, not all consumers are reachable through web content and social media; as a result, it is crucial to take into account the online habits of older generations.

In any marketing campaign, a multi-generational approach is best. And, the best way to achieve that is to truly understand how older generations interact online as well as off. For example, baby boomers tend to prefer Facebook over Twitter and read consumer reports. As a result, an effective multi-media approach, could start with printed materials that lead baby boomers and older consumers to online resources that include Facebook resources in addition to consumer reports.

Also according to Tom Priestley of Liaison Print Management, “The most important question is, how is this piece of communication going to make the consumer change their behavior and where will they go from here” (“Paper and Print Focus”).

Ultimately, when considering how to integrate print and web into a marketing campaign, you have to consider consumer buying and consumption and how you can alter that to the benefit of your campaign.

3. Not everything can be digital (and it shouldn’t be):

Despite the power the internet holds…not all media can be transferred seamlessly from print to web and while marketers are trying to make this move, some things just can’t be replicated. Mr. Priestley says, “Consumers have an array of connection points with a brand, company, service or product and they don’t all live in a virtual space. Print and digital content should rarely be exactly the same. They shouldn’t be performing to the same goals but there should be cohesion between the two” (“Paper and Print Focus).

The takeaway…we do still need some printed materials, and they should be cohesive in branding and concept to online efforts. Additionally, when taking into account that not everyone surfs the web and it can’t all be done online, the benefits of a multi-media campaign become apparent.

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4. Sometimes folks need something they can hold:

Sometimes we just like to have something to hold. When the internet really started to boom, we made a move to purge all printed materials out of our mailboxes; utility companies insisted consumers sign-up for e-bills, employers insisted that employees sign-up for direct deposit and e-stubs, families started to send e-cards, and old school marketing practices started to wane…then we realized that all this paper hating was perhaps going a little haywire and just maybe, some consumers wanted to get more in their mail boxes than non-delivery notices for Amazon packages.

Because sometimes, it is just nice to get something in the mail that you can hold and marvel at. For instance, my grandmother still mails me a real, bona-fide birthday card, and I look forward to it every year. And, my realtor still sends out circulars from time to time. I appreciate these things because they seem more direct and personal than an e-card or mass email.

Additionally, because direct mailers and other printed materials have fallen out of vogue in the last ten years as many businesses have taken all of their marketing efforts online almost exclusively, now is a good time to start a mailer campaign as a means of standing out above the rest. In that light, it is time to jump back on the bandwagon…before it gets too crowded, again.

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5. Direct consumers to your digital efforts:

In the end, the biggest advantage to a multi-media marketing effort that includes print as well as web resources is reach. You want to reach as many people as possible, and you want them to interact with as many of your marketing materials as possible.  For example, according to Millward Brown, a leading research agency, “physical media–AKA direct mail–left a ‘deeper footprint’ in the brain” (“Direct Mail: Alive and Kicking”), meaning that when consumers were given something to physically hold, the message presented stayed with them longer and was more memorable. Also, keep in mind that a goodmailer campaign will go beyond the typical postcard and will include creative, useful and unique media that the recipient can hold onto and engage with.

Yet another advantage of incorporating print into your marketing campaign is the ability to direct consumers to your online efforts. Therefore, including a mailer campaign in your overall efforts with QR codes and links to social media involvement is beneficial to your efforts by increasing reach and, in some cases, interaction.

Lastly…

In our ever changing technological scope, it is important to recognize that there is a great deal of content and media being presented to consumers on a daily basis and so a well-rounded, cross media approach utilizing both print and web is crucial to increasing reach, maintaining attention and growing ROI.