Is it all just digital nowadays?

Although we love print the last 15 years print media has lost ground in the digital media boom. Facing competition from smart phones, iPad, internet, social media and many other digital media.

The recent announcement of four large daily newspapers, including the New Orleans Times-Picayune, cutting back to less-than-daily frequency while boosting digital efforts, is yet another of many examples.

Although print has declined, there is still a need for print in marketing and advertising. CMYK print media is tangible, portable and moldable, it can be carried with a person without the need of technology.

Paper can be any size, shape or colour, it can enhance an idea and become a work of art.

A person can feel the texture of the paper, turn the pages of a magazine, see the brilliant colours shine on the page of a high-gloss photography book. Paper can be any size, shape or colour, it can enhance an idea and become a work of art.

Getting you some attention

In advertising print can become larger than life in the form of billboards that can drive traffic to a website or inform you of discounts at the closest hotel. It can be the smallest printed teaser card to generate buzz of a new restaurant opening. A print piece can engage a person, interact with a person in ways the web cannot.

Print has the diversity of being able to stand alone or work with other media to create dynamic and effective multimedia marketing campaigns.

The use of QR codes can drive traffic to websites in a quick and effective way. Statistics show that campaigns that combine printed direct mail pieces with internet advertising yield up to a 25% higher response rate than using internet alone, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

magazines-stackTypeface print has a credibility that the internet is lacking. There is an ease with print that you don’t get with onscreen text, a sense of being more trustworthy. In fact many studies have shown that print is still considered more credible than online material.

This is because print is more permanent, it has to stand up over time, while the web is fluid, it changes, information can be rewritten very easily, or even deleted.

So while many may think print is a thing of the past, there are many practical uses for print media in today’s digital world. Print has been around for thousands of years in one form or another and print will continue to be an important part of society for years to come.

So is print dead?

This is a question that has been buzzing around the marketing world since the rapid surge of the Internet and social media. While many businesses have completely migrated their advertising efforts to the web because of its cost effectiveness, exposure potential and convenience, print still maintains its stance as a powerful and necessary component of an ad campaign. Let’s take a closer look at print media and some advantages it has over its digital counterparts.

Tangibility – A print piece is a physical thing. Magazines and newspapers can stay in houses or offices for months or years, while Internet ads can disappear into cyber space instantaneously.

Credibility – There is something about print that gives a sense of legitimacy. The saturation of popups and banner ads on the web can be overwhelming and the fear of spam and viruses is enough make people weary of clicking. There is no imminent danger in a print ad.

Branding – Print ads are excellent for solidifying your brand identity. Your ads should have a consistent aesthetic in terms of fonts, colours and types of images to establish brand recognition.

Target Marketing – Placing ads in publications such as specialty magazines can effectively reach niche audiences that may be more difficult to target online.

iphone-ipad-laptopMore Engaging – Consumers are more engaged when reading printed material, unlike websites, which are often skimmed in as little as a 15 second visit. A study shows that people read digital screen text 20% – 30% slower than printed paper. (Alshaali & Varshney, 2005)

Less Print Ads – With more and more businesses relying solely on the Internet for their advertising needs, the decline of print publication can actually be used as a marketing advantage. The publications are less crowded, allowing more room for your ad to shine, and possibly even cheaper prices for that ad space.

QR Codes – Placing QR codes on printed pieces is an excellent way to bridge the gap between print and web. When scanned with a smartphone, the QR code will take you to a homepage or a special offer page that lives on the web.

The best way to market your business is to utilize as many channels as possible to reach every corner of your target demographic; this should not exclude print. Although it is likely that most emphasis, in terms of advertising, will be executed online, there still exist those who revel in the glory of the printed page and it’s important to reach them. Finding the right balance between various media will ensure a steady revenue flow, an increase in sales and new customers.

About the Author: Sam Harrington-Lowe

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