Print Marketing – Is It Still Valid?

As the peculiarity and uniqueness of digital marketing tools have found their place in everyday life, marketers have begun to take a second look at print marketing as a means of reaching prospects and customers, particularly millennials (currently between 25 and 40 years old – 72.1 million in the U.S.) and next, the Gen Z population. (currently between 9 and 24 years old – nearly 68 million in the U.S.). Print has not only survived the onset of digital marketing but has incorporated the technology into printed pieces to make the perfect storm that most effectively reaches and motivates prospects and customers to make a purchase.

Print marketing is a form of advertising that uses printed media, such as brochures, business cards, banners, direct mail postcards, or catalogs. Before digital marketing ever existed, print marketing ruled the advertising industry. It’s the original form of marketing, and it hasn’t lost its effectiveness.

The data shows that 88% believe they understand, retain, or use information better when they read it in print. In addition, 80% have a clear preference for reading complicated materials in print, in contrast to 12% for computer screens and 3% for smartphones. Of 18-to-24-year-olds, 69% say it is important to “switch off” and enjoy printed books and magazines once in a while. A whopping 92% of shoppers say they prefer print marketing when making a purchasing decision.

Do you want more proof of the power of print marketing? The Association for Psychological Science stresses that taking notes with pen and paper boosts memory and our ability to understand better. “Companies are looking for ways to enhance their customer’s experience by transforming their digital world into a physical one,” says Joanne Gore, President of the full-service B2B marketing agency Joanne Gore Communications Inc. and CMO of Taktiful. “Designers want to transform the digital vision into a tangible one, while marketers mine data to provide a hyper-personal customer experience.” That’s why brands like Netflix, Amazon, Shopify, and Nike are using physical stores, merchandise branding, and pop-ups to provide memorable immersive experiences. Print marketing enables brands of all sizes to bridge the physical-digital gap and engage customers with an experience that transcends platforms, devices, and locations.

An infographic produced by Two Sides North America points out that the majority of Americans agree that print on paper is preferred for learning and retention.  These statistics validate the inclusion of print marketing in your marketing mix.

“Our brains are all fundamentally the same,” says Kevin Abergel, president of Tactiful Marketing, a firm that specializes in consulting with printers, manufacturers, and brands on how to harness the power of print marketing. “What unites us is the subconscious need to touch and connect”. Printed collateral satisfies this need.

When you make print interactive using QR codes, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR), you bridge the analog and digital worlds. You capture the attention of prospects and customers for a longer period and foster smoother business operations. Not only do these technologies bring print to life, but they also elevate digital-only tactics with long-lasting, memorable, and sensory experiences that only print can provide.

“Interactive print technologies engage the senses by blending the physical and digital, as customers discover your products and services in exciting new ways,” Gore says. “QR codes make it easy to drive customers to pURLs, URLs, landing pages, surveys, videos, contact information, featured promos and more—without having to navigate through website menus and submenus”.

Abergel says that “In an age where digital marketing reigns supreme, many marketers are looking for ways to make their campaigns stand out and offer something unique that will capture consumers’ attention. Print marketing provides a way to do just that.”

Justin Ahrens from Rule29 and his team of creatives, thinkers, and doers continue to take it upon themselves to find ways to intimately connect and engage with today’s fickle consumer. The creative agency, where Ahrens serves as chief evangelist, views the reemergence from the pandemic as a way to reestablish our senses. “I believe before the pandemic, and even more so now, we as people were collectively searching for more unique and custom experiences, as we have been dulled from the immediacy we can give and receive information,” Ahrens says,

“Today we have so many options to connect with a customer. We have found that a well-designed print piece, direct mail, and environmental design can still turn a head, create a memorable moment and promote action.”

What are the benefits of print marketing materials? When building promotional campaigns, companies typically use marketing collateral to speak with and educate their audiences. There are different types of marketing collateral available in both print and digital formats that you can use. It’s important to understand which marketing collateral to utilize for certain audiences to ensure you’re effectively attracting new customers and engaging existing ones. Your company may benefit from using print marketing materials to achieve the following:

  • Increase brand recognition
  • Reach a broader audience
  • Raise awareness
  • Promote special offers
  • Increase leads and sales
  • Much more

According to Pica9, “In an increasingly digital world, print marketing is still popular. Brands haven’t forgotten about the power of print to engage and excite their consumers. Top multi-location brands use print — whether direct mail, billboards or good old newspaper ads — to drive local engagement and sales”.

“Marketers have a plethora of tools to choose from today, whether they decide to use a solely digital strategy or incorporate a blend of both traditional and digital tactics,” says Larry Myler, contributor at Forbes. “More importantly, brands need to begin thinking like their customer and understand how their target markets are accessing information and consuming content.”

“With digital marketing, whether it’s an email, a tweet, or a paid online advertisement, a customer will consume the message and then instantly carry on with their online journey,” says Jon Smith, marketing manager at Instantprint. However, print offers longevity. If you hand someone a flyer or a leaflet, they can take it away and read it at their leisure, and then easily read it again.”

Print engages more senses. Paper thickness, quality, texture, and scent all make print a much more visceral experience than digital media. In short, it makes readers pay more attention. By providing a space free from digital interruptions and distractions, print can draw a reader’s full attention. Print media is more trustworthy because once the brochure is published, it cannot be modified or deleted. Whereas in digital media, we can modify or delete any content.

Printed media is often considered much less invasive, with no annoying pop-up ads getting in the way. A brochure, magazine, or other forms of print are a more relaxed, enjoyable form of marketing. The consumer can read the content when they choose, without having their Facebook feed interrupted by an ad.

Print is powerful. If you think print is dead? Think again. It has the highest engagement, highest recall, and highest ROI. Plus, with the wide range of print options available, there are many ways to engage prospects and customers at the right time, with the right message, to the right audience. Whatever your business, whether you’re a manufacturer, service business, non-profit organization, restaurant, school, or other retail outlet, print can incorporate a number of digital channels to help promote your brand and increase sales. When a prospect reads print material, they are more likely to retain it. Studies show that we’re able to retain information read on print collateral better than if we read it online. People implicitly trust print more than digital content, particularly the younger buyers. Over decades, print has refused to disappear, and with good reason. IT WORKS!

Print is powerful. Ensure you include it in your marketing strategy.

For more information on the value of print marketing, contact your Think Patented account executive or call 937.353.2299.