Never Write Off Print
There’s no denying we live in a digital age. People spend 80% of their lives in front of a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. We watch films in digital form, get news from digital channels, and get bombarded by digital marketing all the time. In fact, you can’t spend two minutes online without seeing a pop-up or banner ad.
This digital surfeit has led some to believe that “print is dead”. But these people are dead wrong. Digital is great for browsing and sourcing information, but what do people do when they find something of value? They invariably print it out. And as for those pop-ups ads … they couldn’t be more annoying.
Hot off the press!
Although digital is great for a lot of things – it’s functional and cost-effective for starters – its quality is often poor and its response rates relatively low. A lot of online content is poorly written, stuffed with ‘keywords’ to boost search rankings, and it’s hard for brands to stand out from the crowd.
Printed communications, on the other hand, have a tangible quality that digital publications cannot match. You can hold printed pages in your hand, touch them, smell them, and appreciate them. And their quality tells the readers that the information they contain is valuable.
Printed literature is more intimate, personalised, and better for brand-building as a result. It’s also permanent. Whilst digital communications can be dismissed in nanoseconds with the click of a button, quality print lingers on desks and coffee tables, ready to be picked up and digested all over again.
Print moves with the times
Print technology has also come far in recent years. Quality printing companies like Menzies Response give you numerous options to choose from: you can have silk coated, gloss coated, or laminated pages, and then bind or stitch the final document. You can even add textures, foil, and laid material to convey a sense of luxury and increase reader engagement. It sure beats a simple PDF or email.
Print is also a great way to beat the digital clutter. The glut of digital messages online makes them easy to ignore. Distracting adverts, videos, and click-bait often surround online content. With printed communications you have the reader’s full attention. This gives your brand the chance to shine.
The science bit …
By tracking eye-movement and monitoring brain activity, neuroscientists have proved that printed copy holds a reader’s attention better than digital text. MRI scans also prove that the brain responds best to printed stimuli. Print is therefore more memorable, emotional, and ultimately more likely to elicit a response and generate sales.
Universities have reached the same conclusions. The ‘flicker’ effect of digital screens makes it harder for people to read and engage with text onscreen. Researchers at the School of Communication and Journalism at the University of Oregon found that those who read printed copy remember content much better than those who rely on digital.
Print passes with flying colours
A study by Info Links showed that despite seeing almost two thousand online adverts per month, 50% of people never click on digital ads. Direct mail, on the other hand, has much better response rates. According to The CMO Council a whopping 79% of business-to-business professionals believe direct mail is either “effective” or “very effective”.
Because it’s effective and designers can experiment with materials, folds, and formats, print continues to be very popular with marketers across the land. Whereas digital messages are often here today and gone tomorrow, printed communications have longevity.
What’s more, because they hold readers’ attention, you can go into much more detail on printed pages. Research shows that people don’t like scrolling or clicking for long. A multi-page brochure, on the other hand, gives you ample scope to offer further information and provide additional reasons to buy.
To the future …
The future of print looks as bright as it’s high-quality colours – especially as the recent GDPR changes make direct mail a more attractive way to reach people. Obviously digital remains extremely important and will continue to be a priority for marketers everywhere. However, a multi-channel strategy that embraces the quality of print alongside the convenience of digital is surely the most prudent approach.
So if you’ve got something important to say, and want to show customers they’re important, make sure you put it in print. Nothing compares to the personal touch of a letter or the gravitas of a quality corporate brochure. You know it. Marketers know it. And crucially so do your customers.