Is print marketing really dead?

An interesting question to ponder in this modern world. It is no secret that digital media has absolutely exploded and many print publications are in decline. But this graphic designer is still flying the printed flag. Why? Because I believe it is still relevant and with the right strategies, print collateral is a useful tool in the marketing arsenal.

Print lasts longer 

There are so many platforms completing for attention, but most with a short shelf life. Did you know that the shelf life of a twitter post is about 15 minutes? Social media is an excellent tool to build conversation with your current and potential customers, but these conversations are fleeting. Instant gratification serves a purpose, but what if you want to establish a more meaningful connection?

Print, by contrast, is said to have a shelf life of about 2 weeks. If my actual mailbox is anything to go by, I’d say that sentiment rings true – there is always something “fridge worthy” (and a catalogue to flick through).

Print is platform to tell your story to your clients and customers without the constant distractions of other posts, tweets and hashtags.

It is very human

The ubiquity of digital media has given print a strange new power.

There is something very human and substantial about a printed publication. Sales teams can leave something tangible with clients and prospects. You can’t leave a tweet or Instagram post on your coffee table, even if you have spent an inordinate amount of timing selecting the perfect filter and hashtags. 

If you want to really show off, print is your medium. It is absolute. It cannot be copied, altered or broken into pieces. There is a reason why big players still persist with catalogues. 

A postcard or business card can be seen and touched – it speaks to the quality of your business. A flyer or brochure puts your products and services in the spotlight.

There are personalisation opportunities

When you have the opportunity to create something personalised (and I mean beyond the obligatory “Hi Rachel”), it makes your business more memorable.

There’s a growing trend for personalised products, fashion, clothes, accessories, just look at what Coca-Cola, The Daily Edited and even local players like Madura Tea are up to.

The ability to personalise increases the chances of your item being read. Personalised mail simply stands out from the rest of the day-to-day barrage of advertising messages.

All kinds of variable information can be used to customise your message – names, sales updates and handpicked products to name a few.

Printed pieces can be tailored for different demographics or customer types, which will enable your marketing efforts to become more focused for improved response rates.

The specs are up to you

The world really is your oyster when it comes to printed material (though budget probably needs to be considered at some point).

There is no need to cram all the detail into a finite number of pixels to post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You have the luxury of space to share detailed information about your products and services.

You also have more control over scale and format and how it is packaged and delivered.  

Print complements your online activity

Consider a combination of digital and print marketing to increase your chances of making a lasting impression.

Ads and materials will be more effective if they are a complement to the digital campaigns already in the marketplace and entice readers to interact with your brand online.

For maximum impact around a product launch or announcement, build an integrated marketing campaign that brings the best of both worlds together. Use KPIs that complement both channels instead of evaluating them in isolation.

Use print to build your social proof

Yes, I understand there is a certain irony using printed materials to drive online activity. But It can certainly be effective.

Looking to get more shares on social media? Consider how a postcard might be distributed with your product to incentivise your customers to put up a post about you.

Need to get more email subscribers? Perhaps providing something at the point of sale or including with your product could work for you.

If you’re looking for a design that demands attention from your customers, I’d love to help. Together, let’s create something that definitely IS worth the paper it’s printed on.

Let’s start something new

What can I help with? Tell me a bit about your next project.