Digital marketing has seen phenomenal growth, and it’s not going away. Society has shifted permanently to fully embracing the digital world and only a long-term power cut is going to have an impact on that. However, with that said, other channels still have influence. Where there’s less activity it’s easier to be spotted. If you walk into a fancy restaurant more than likely your eyes are hit with a million twinkles, glittery lights and amazing décor. Walk into your accountant’s reception, though, and you might just find yourself sitting in a plainly painted room with an eerie silence. See where we’re going here? Print has not been replaced… marketers simply have to work out how to re-place it in their plans.
Putting digital into perspective
The thing is, what works for digital also works against digital. Targeted messages can appear in front eyes quickly and easily. But because they can appear so quickly and easily, web users have subliminally learned to ‘not see’ them. Print, on the other hand, is something one holds, and this in itself draws a reader’s attention rather than switches it off. You could say, with print things are just that bit less busy. And this makes the whole printed experience a far more serene one… something that’s very engaging for the busy executive.
But it’s important not to go down the print vs digital way of thinking. They can complement each other. Building a brand requires you to have impact across many channels, and utilising the familiarity of an old friend like print to support your campaigns will foster trust in a digital message. It’s true that more and more audiences are seeking personalised interactive content, and that print struggles to compete in this arena, but there really is nothing like holding something in your hand for getting a message to sink in. Print simply works differently and can therefore engage in a different way.
Engaging other senses
There is this concept that a luxury-based product still benefits from advertising in a tangible medium… aka. print. It brings the other senses into the frame. One can feel the quality of the paper. The superiority of an embossed logo cannot be questioned. And the vivid hit of matt-printed photography undoubtedly has wow factor. All these are features of print that can make a product stand out in a way that simply doesn’t happen in digital format. But is that all there is to it? Absolutely not.
When you want to get vocal about being local
For example, a business with a ‘catchment’ should always consider including print within their marketing armoury. It can be in the form of local paper advertorial and adverts, posters, or leaflet drops. Designed well, with a strong message and hook, local businesses like dealing with other local businesses; don’t miss a trick.
Moments needing distraction
And then there are just those moments when your customer is physically present somewhere in a location that’s related to your product and they have a few minutes to kill. Print can work very well in these moments. Imagine yourself at your accountant’s office again and you see a leaflet on the financial benefits of corporate health insurance… you might just pick it up and read it.
So, how does print do it?
Well, for one… being the old fogey that it is, print has credibility. Psychologically it’s not tarred with the ‘fake news’ brush.
Secondly, printed material can’t just be discarded with a click or a swish. If someone is holding your information, they are in contact with it for far longer than their eyes will engage with a digital ad. That’s not to be sniffed at. And when they put a leaflet down, it’s still sitting there for someone else to see.
Thirdly, we know the 80/20 rule matters, but sometimes that 20% of your target audience are still worth reaching. And if they happen to be more print oriented than digitally oriented, then why write them off?
A final thought…
There’s no doubt that digital marketing is effective, and it’s also easy to measure and analyse. That’s an attractive proposition for anyone managing and justifying a marketing budget. But the sheer volume of competition you’re up against every second of every day is extraordinary; engagement is fleeting. Print, on the other hand, makes a more lasting impression. So if your business benefits from a brochure being passed around a board meeting, don’t discount it. If your target market still reads that printed industry magazine, write for it.
One thing to also remember is that your marketing database will need to support print as it would digital so ensuring that you have correct address details is key.
Lastly, nothing is forever, but we’d say that a marketing window is a marketing window. For reasons already given, print is currently waving and smiling through a clear sheet of glass. Don’t just wave back, invite it in, get it working for you, and give people a chance to engage with your magic with more than just their eyes…