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Why Print Marketing Still Works in a Digital World

Updated: Feb 17, 2019

Why Print Marketing Still Works in a Digital World

As a business owner or marketing professional, you’ve probably heard or maybe even said:

Print marketing is dead. Digital is where it's at.

Let me clear the air and dismiss the rumors and layout a modern-day marketing strategy that works because it considers and caters to your target market.

While it may be true that digital marketing is a critical component of any marketing plan today, it’s not your only option. Nobody can deny the importance of digital marketing channels like email, websites, search engines, pay-per-click ads, social media, and mobile apps. But there are other ways to reach your target market using print marketing.

Print marketing is not a substitute for digital. It’s a strategic partner. There’s no need to separate the two. To get the most out of your marketing, you need the right mix of branding, print, digital and multimedia marketing.

Here is why print marketing still works in a digital world.

Print Marketing is Tactile

If you’re a fan of print media, it’s probably largely because of the texture and weight of the paper stock. Take luxury products as an example. They tend to have a certain look and feel that sets them apart from other products. Think about Apple’s sturdy, satiny iPhone boxes or their hefty, minimally branded retail bags. Apple isn’t just an electronics company. They’re a luxury retailer. Their products are built to last, expensive, and their packaging reflects the quality.

Wedding invitations and other formal announcements are typically printed on textured card stock that provides a sense of elegance or prestige. This emphasizes the importance of the event.

Your print marketing materials don’t necessarily need to be identified as luxury to appeal to your audience, though. The fact that you can hold a piece of print marketing means it taps into your haptic memory, that sensory memory that’s specific to touching. This provides an emotional connection for the reader. Don’t sell this benefit short. As a smart marketer, use it to your advantage.

Texture is an important selling point. Why else would you add a coating or varnish to paper when it’s printed? It provides protection on its journey through the U.S. mail system, but it also accentuates touch and causes response rates to increase.

In a neuromarketing article by “Brainfluence” author Roger Dooley, we learn that media increases your brand’s impact and engagement by greater than 70% when it appeals to more than three senses.

So if you have the opportunity, create a printed piece that looks great, feels great, and even smells great. You might hit the ROI jackpot.

Print Marketing is Personalized, Too

Personalization in marketing works. Whether it’s included in an email or a printed direct mail piece, when you personalize your marketing campaigns, you’ll typically see a higher response rate than with generic efforts. Targeted emails, custom video messages, product recommendations, and more are all examples of personalized marketing.

Almost 85% of consumers said they’d be more inclined to open a piece of personalized mail, according to a Forbes article on direct mail marketing.

The Data and Marketing Association’s 2018 Statistical Fact Book deems personalization as a key element for brand credibility. Targeting customers on a one-to-one level increases response rates up to 50% or more. If you add their name and full color, it can increase response rates by 135%.

How many U.S. marketers are benefitting from personalization techniques? Nearly 90% of them saw measurable improvements.

Print Marketing Supports Hyperlocal

When you want to reach customers in your immediate vicinity, print marketing is the perfect complement. Perhaps you run a small business that relies on local traffic. You’re not interested in a global audience, unless you sell a product or service for purchase and delivery online.

Direct mail is a popular and cost-effective way to reach local consumers, but you can also use flyers, business cards, posters, street pole ads, and other outdoor media. When you combine print with geo-location services and search engine marketing, you can target specific offerings to specific neighborhoods.

The hyperlocal approach also affects larger businesses and franchise organizations. Your brand may already have the global reach you were looking for. Then you realize your customers want the personal appeal a local branch offers them. That’s where hyperlocal marketing comes in.

A Brand Marketing Center allows you to customize and deliver your local marketing materials while maintaining brand integrity and consistency. People rely on their mobile device to research, locate, and interact with a brand. By utilizing hyperlocal marketing, you can reach your customers where they are, in both print and digital formats.

Let’s say you have a national insurance company with local branches around the country. The brand can use hyperlocal marketing to more effectively communicate with its customers in specific communities. Plus, it allows local agents to connect with local customers on a more personal level. This shows that the brand cares about their local customers and the neighborhoods they live in.

Thanks to variable data printing, it’s possible to run a single, direct marketing campaign with an image and messaging targeted to a recipients’ closest locations, deals, or sales reps.

Direct Mail’s Response Rate is Better Than Email

According to an Inc. article, people spend an average of 30 minutes reading their physical mail. Compare that to the paltry 11 seconds (on average) they spend reading their electronic mail and it’s easy to see why “regular” mail has a higher response rate.

The response rate to a piece of direct mail marketing is 37% higher than email. Postcards, in particular, have a 4.25% response rate, while email checks in at a mere 0.1%, according to the latest Response Rate Report by the DMA.

Young Eyes Think Print is Easier to Read

It would stand to reason that millennials prefer digital to print. After all, they were raised with technology like cell phones, computers, and the internet. But it isn’t true, according to a multi-country study. Millennials actually prefer print.

In an article entitled “Millennials Myths, “the globally diversified wood fibre company Sappi said a surprising 92% of 18-23-year-olds think it’s easier to read printed content than digital content. Respondents said a physical printed piece has fewer distractions than reading online material and that they also had less eye strain and headaches than they did when looking at a screen for an extended period of time.

Print Marketing is More Trusted

A survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers was commissioned by graphics communications industry insiders Two Sides North America. They partnered with leading marketing research company Toluna to see how print and paper is viewed, preferred, and trusted by consumers in the digital age.

They believe print provides a deeper understanding of the content. When it comes to making a purchasing decision, consumers trust print ads 34% more than search engine ads. Why? Compelling print ads are more credible and they require less cognitive effort, so they’re easier to interpret.

Here are a few more relevant statistics from consumers:

59% don’t trust many of the ads they see online.71% don’t pay attention to online ads.63% read the printed marketing mail that’s addressed to them and delivered to their home.

Print Marketing Works Alongside Digital

Even though print marketing works (and works well), you’d never drop all digital marketing efforts and focus solely on print marketing. Rather, the two can and should work together to create your optimal marketing strategy.

Multichannel marketing combines all your online and offline channels. Your retail store will work alongside your website (and mobile website), mail-order catalog, direct mail, app, print ads, flyers, brochures, email, etc. The idea is to give your customer the option to pick the channel of their choice. You just need to make sure their experience is consistent across all channels.

Here are a few ways print and digital work together.

Workflow Automation

An effective marketing automation strategy can not only save time, it can also improve your relationships with your customers and lead to greater conversions. From a digital perspective, you can:

Welcome new email subscribers with a series of onboarding emails.Create downloadable content for completed forms.Keep a clean email list with a re-opt-in process.Track prospective customers according to who is most likely to convert (aka lead scoring).Generate lead nurturing to keep customers engaged during their time spent researching your product or service.Upsell to current customers.

A web-to-print marketing automation solution allows you to run multichannel marketing campaigns. If you use the proper brand management software, you can integrate all your marketing collateral and vendors into one system, with customizable templates that allow you to easily create and distribute your local marketing materials.

QR Codes

QR codes (aka quick response codes) have been around since 1994 when they were first designed for Japan’s automotive industry. Today, they appear everywhere from magazine ads to point-of-purchase displays to hiking trails, just to name a few.

These odd-looking, two-dimensional barcodes allow people to scan them with a smartphone to get information, send an email or text message, and/or be directed to a website link for more information. By adding QR codes to direct mail marketing, marketers can send recipients to custom PURLs. This allows them to create personalized experiences, and also to gain greater insights into customer engagement and offer redemptions.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (or AR) takes QR-code technology to another level. Rather than having someone scan an optical label, you can use image recognition with unique designs and photos to unlock a world of digital engagement, all from the comfort of a customer’s smartphone.

Like a QR code, an AR tag can open a website URL or landing page, show a video, make a phone call, etc. Then you can track those responses to measure ROI.

Print Marketing Still Works in a Digital World

When you want to create a successful marketing strategy, the best practice is to include a modern-day mix of both digital and traditional methods. Print marketing is not only far from a lost cause, it’s a thriving, growing marketing medium. When you incorporate a multichannel approach, you’re setting up your brand for success.

MSP can help you create a marketing strategy that incorporates print with digital solutions. Plus we have competitive rates on the digital print and mail services you need.

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