In the digital age, is print media still relevant and effective?
Video didn’t kill the radio star
When the radio was invented, it was supposed to kill variety. When the television was invented, it was supposed mark the end of radio. Streaming was supposed to kill off television. With each new technological advancement, we always seem to prophesying the death of something else. Well all of those things I’ve mentioned still exist, and are still relevant and effective. Can the same be said for print media now that digital is on the scene?
Businesses may be concerned that they will seem old-fashioned if they maintain their reliable old brochures in favour of taking everything online. They might consider print media to be costly to be produce against its digital counterpart. There may be a worry that they will be seen as environmentally unfriendly (even if they point out the responsible sourcing of their paper). Another factor may be the ability to track effectiveness and prove ROI.
Maximise your reach
Digital advertising, email marketing, and social media are seen as more cost effective ways to reach customers. And they are, there is no disputing that. But can you be sure that you’re reaching all of your potential customers? Do all of your potential customers want to be reached this way? Doubtful.
With more and more people using filters to block digital messages, and people’s inboxes being filled to bursting, chances are some of your messages aren’t getting through. Plus, if your business offers a more local service, or your audience is more mature, a digital boost may return you a lot of impressions, but how many will convert?
Print media, on the other hand, still makes it across people’s desks. A well designed, eye-catching direct mail campaign or product brochure could reach your potential customer while they’re still blocking/ignoring/not noticing your digital efforts.
I love the smell of print ink in the morning!
Also, there’s something stimulating about the smell of printed ink when you pick up a brochure and flick through the pages. There is something about a glossy photograph that cannot be replicated online. Print media is designed to be kept. To be referred to time and time again.
Print is engaging. Unlike online where we can skim read without much consideration; if we choose to pick up a printed leaflet or brochure we are more likely to commit the time to read it.
Print is tactile. Studies show that we have better spontaneous recognition for tactile stimuli meaning the content is more likely to be kept front of mind in the future.
Market research suggests that consumers still prefer to be given a brochure for their more ‘considered’ purchases. High value items, such as cars, houses, holidays, or furniture have a lengthier buying cycle. For these, it is more common for people to want to have something tangible while they make their decision.
Digital should change print media, not replace it
The purpose of print has certainly changed, there is no denying that. Print items, such as the glossy brochures mentioned above, no longer need to be information driven. That’s what websites are for. Rather, print should now be used to drive emotion. Aspirational lifestyle imagery and high quality print mean your efforts are more likely to be continually referred to. And maybe even passed around.
Digital printing is far more affordable today than 10, even 5 years ago. Digital print means smaller, more targeted print runs can be trialled. It can also incorporate some extremely striking processes to make your print media even more memorable.
Finally, you can easily devote an area of your print media to point people to your social channels. If they were blocking/ignoring/not noticing you earlier, they may now engage through choice.
You can have your cake, and print it!
None of this is to say that you should abandon your digital marketing and go rushing back to print. Rather that there is still a place for both. Print media can complement your digital marketing strategy. Some of your customers will be happy to learn all about you online. Some will still prefer to receive a hard copy to read at their leisure. If you want to be customer focused, you should cater to all. Your customers, and your bank balance, will thank you.
Get in touch if you want to chat through how you could best incorporate print into your brand strategy.