In the digital age, is printed marketing material still relevant?
The rumours of the death of print have been greatly exaggerated. In the digital age, the medium still has the power to grab our attention, tell stories and drive sales. Marketing and advertising are about one thing: making your product stand out in the crowd. Its aim is to attract the most eyes and wallets, but modern consumers are being swamped by a barrage of digital marketing and are looking away.
At every interface, the internet targets us with advertising: on Facebook, in our inboxes, while we’re Googling or YouTubing. It’s everywhere, often irksome, and we’re all pretty good at either ignoring it or clicking it from our screens.
Print is different: it’s less omnipresent, often less surreptitious in its intent, and has more of an impact on those it targets. It’s like owning a hardback novel, instead of an e-book, or a vinyl disc in a beautifully designed gatefold, rather than an MP3. Print is real and it is tangible.
Not So Plain Paper
People still love paper. When the first e-readers hit the market, there were apocalyptic prophecies about the death of the printed novel. Ten years on, sales of books are booming. Why? There’s something, easy, tactile and comforting about holding a piece of paper, rather than an electronic gadget. That’s why around 80% of Kiwis still love flicking through magazines, according to the most recent Nielsen statistics.
Reading the printed word is a long-established tradition that isn’t about to be replaced by a touchscreen, especially for those who grew up in a pre-internet world. Nearly 60% of adult New Zealanders are over 40, and for these people, reading from paper, rather than a touchscreen, is second nature.
A prime example is Bill Gates. He’s a tech icon, but he still prints out documents if they are longer than one page, and confesses that he prefers print to digital for reading, because, he says, “it’s what he’s used to”.
By including print as part of a marketing campaign, you are casting your net wider than just the denizens of the Net.
Making An Impact
In the age of instant gratification, where a quick swipe to the left can relegate you to a dating wasteland, most people don’t read much online … they skim. That’s why it’s called surfing the internet. If people were actually staying on one page long enough to absorb all its content, it would be called internet floating.
Print has more of an impact, and has the power to capture the attention of its target audience in a way that’s impossible online.
For expensive products, a well-designed, glossy brochure can reflect luxury in a way that’s impossible to replicate on screen. If you’ve a longer story to tell, print is the perfect medium, too.
People spend, on average, 1 minute and 20 seconds reading an online blog. On the page, well-written copy and fantastic photography have permanency; it will draw in a reader to the story being told. On screen, it’s likely to be consigned to a browser’s history folder with a click of a mouse.
Print – One Part Of The SolutionNot every product will benefit from print, and it must always go hand-in-hand with digital. But as more and more advertising moves online, it’s increasingly important to recognise the physical benefits printed words and images can bring to any campaign. In a virtual world, it provides a point of difference grounded in reality.