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Does Print Have a Place in Today’s Marketing Mix?

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The short answer is yes.

Since the dawn of the digital age, there has been a persistent rumor that print is not as relevant to contemporary marketing as it once was. Nothing could be further from the truth. Print is alive and well and living in the marketing mixes of savvy, successful marketers.

Marketing solution providers like Allegra have mastered the art of combining traditional and promotional print products with other traditional and digital marketing strategies. Print marketing is often the glue that holds it all together.

Why Print?

Because it works. Printed materials can have a significant advantage over digital marketing. Consumers interact with printed information and products tactilely and cognitively. That’s a powerful combination that creates instant engagement. For instance, when you receive a direct mail piece, you’re faced with a decision. Either toss it in the trash or investigate further. If you read on, engagement is instant. If the content is relevant, the design appealing, and the call-to-action powerful, a purchase can be far more likely than relying solely on digital.

“Print is interesting because it actually provokes people to read it,” according to Britt Fero, head of strategy for Publicis, a New York-based ad agency. “Just buying it or getting it in the mail provokes the reader to engage in a way that digital doesn’t.”

Print is more than paper and ink

Despite the perception that most of today’s marketing happens online, print is everywhere. It goes well beyond ink on paper. It’s more than business cards and brochures. Take a look at your work area. Chances are you’re using a pen with a company’s logo or a promotional flash drive. You probably have a water bottle or tote bag sporting some company’s message and logo. From printed tee shirts to logo adorned golf balls, the uses of print in effective marketing are limited only by your imagination.

And Digital?

Digital content is undeniably important, not to mention pervasive. It’s not a matter of one approach over the other. It’s that print can do things that digital marketing can’t. Brands such as Airbnb and Uline that focus on digital, are among the online marketers that still spend millions on printed catalogs. Online retailers still mail postcard offers to established customers. Thousands of Amazon sellers include printed inserts in every packaged delivered. Order anything online and it’s likely that your purchase will arrive with a targeted postcard or a catalog. Digital content and supporting print are more effective together than digital alone.

A Deeper Dive

Let’s look at some of the reasons why and how printed content can outperform digital in the marketing realm.

  • Online reading tends to be shallow. When we read online content we usually skim for important ideas. When we read printed material, we tend to read more slowly and with greater depth. Reading a printed piece puts us in a different, more desirable
    mental place.
  • Reading printed copy is more focused. Distractions are rampant when reading online. Frequent interruptions in the form of pop-up ads, notifications, reminders and other on-screen events can make it difficult to stay focused. How many times have you been distracted by a newly arriving email?
  • Good print moves consumers to buy. In a recent study, brand preference and expressed intention to buy were seven points higher with print advertising than with digital advertising. Print also outperformed TV in the same way by 3 percentage points.
  • Print enhances overall marketing efficiency. Printed content can boost the persuasion power of the messaging mix. When print is used with other traditional platforms and online efforts, synergies are created.
  • Printed material creates credibility. Physical engagement with a printed piece can produce believability that digital cannot duplicate. Print can create an almost quintessential effect. You can feel the weight and texture of the paper. You can smell the ink, hear a turning page and see a well-executed design.

The bottom line

Print will always be in the marketing mix of knowledgeable marketers. Whether it’s business cards or pens, banners and signs or catalogs and direct mail pieces, print is and always will be an important component of the marketing mix.

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