September 10th, 2019

6 Reasons Print Marketing Isn’t Dead (Number 4 Will Surprise You)

Author: Laura Lynch
Laura Lynch
Director of Marketing

So long as people like paper, print isn’t going anywhere.

Back when digital media first began to take off, it seemed like everyone was predicting the end of print. But here we are, years later, and not only is print not dead, in some sectors it is stronger than ever.

Read our post: Is Print Marketing Dead in the Digital Age?

It turns out people like physical mediums, which is why print books are still a growing market. And similar things can be said of marketing, too. There’s something about printed marketing materials that people respond to. So no, print marketing isn’t dead. Here are six reasons to prove it.

1. Print marketing makes your business tangible.

The startup costs to throwing together a cheap website and trying to sell product are so low, that in many ways, the whole ecommerce industry is still a bit of a wild west. Most people have gotten over their hesitation about online purchases in general, but they still pause before buying something from an entirely new brand. There’s still that red flag in the back of their minds that causes them to ask: is this brand real?

Well, print marketing makes it real. People trust marketing materials they can hold more than ones that they scroll past on the screen. So if you have a way to distribute your print marketing materials to the right audience, you’ll establish credibility with them.

2. Print marketing is memorable and versatile.

Online marketing ads are very effective at what they do. They can reach highly targeted audiences, create a digital conversion funnel, and improve brand awareness through remarketing. But they tend to be more transient than print. Out of sight, out of mind.

On the other hand, people remember things that they saw in print better than things they saw on a digital interface. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly why, but there seems to be a psychological benefit to physical mediums. Furthermore, while print does have its limitations, they tend to be different from the ones you have online. Print collaterals can be posters, cards, brochures, sell sheets, print mailers, and more. That means they can be used in ways digital ads can’t, and to reach audiences in places digital can’t.

3. Print marketing sticks around longer.

Print isn’t just more memorable, it also has more longevity. Hand someone a nice sell sheet, and assuming it doesn’t end up straight in the trash, it will probably end up on someone’s desk or kitchen counter. They’ll keep picking it up and moving it around, noticing it each time, and remembering that there was a reason they held on to it. It’s like a digital remarketing campaign, but one the customer doesn’t feel even a little weird about.

4. Print marketing is an essential part of a multichannel strategy.

We’ve talked before about multichannel marketing. Multichannel means engaging folks in a variety of places, from your website to social media, to email—and yes, even in print.

Read our post: Does Your Business Need a Multichannel Marketing Strategy?

Many companies are surprised to hear that a direct mailer strategy is still an effective way to engage some audiences. If you have a physical location, sending out a product catalog or a coupon offer helps convince potential customers to head into your store. And if you’re an ecommerce business, direct mail can still be effective for the reasons we already mentioned: it builds trust, is memorable, and it lasts.

5. Print marketing helps you reengage with audiences offline.

We often recommend print for businesses who are trying to move audiences from the physical world into the digital realm. After all, your website is where you can go into greater detail about your business, show them videos and picture galleries, or ask them to create a membership account, make a purchase, or schedule a meeting.

But print is also effective the other way around. I’ve noticed several situations lately where I’ve ordered a product and it’s arrived with a piece of print collateral—such as a poster or an infographic—that they think I might want to keep around my home. It’s a neat idea, and a great way of reminding me that I purchased from them.

6. Print is a fantastic resource for in-person interactions.

Believe it or not, but business cards are still a more socially acceptable way of passing your information on to someone else than any digital solution to date. The alternative is always an awkward interval where one person or the other fumbles around with their phone and tries to enter the right information into the right place. It ads friction, and is more intrusive than passing a card.

The same is true for other print resources. Even if your goal is to convince them to go to your website, make a purchase, send you an email, or sign up for your newsletter, you’ll still have better results if they have an engaging print sell sheet or brochure to look at in the meantime.

Print and digital aren’t an either/or, they’re a both/and.

The big misconception so many people have about print and digital marketing is that they are somehow opposed to each other. They aren’t. While there may be cases where a brand should prioritize one over the other, it’s a very rare situation when a brand doesn’t have a good need for both.

Instead of thinking of them as separate, start thinking of how they can work together. Create brochures for marketing events that direct readers to landing pages on your website. Offer downloadable content online that readers can easily print if they need to. And keep your branding and design visually similar across both.

The best way to keep these aspects of your brand working together is by finding a marketing agency that can do both. A good web design agency should understand the print world, too. Just be aware that the same is not always true in reverse. So if you’re considering a new web project, ask your prospective design agencies what their print background is. If you find someone who can handle both needs competently, achieving your marketing goals will be much more cost-effective, and you’ll get more from your budget.

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