5 Reasons Why Print Marketing Still Packs a Punch

In this fast-paced digital age, with multiple devices constantly vying for our attention, there is something increasingly attractive about temporarily stepping-away from the glare of a screen and holding a quality printed item in our scroll-fatigued hands.

Perhaps the familiarity of traditional, tangible print makes for a comforting experience in this chaotic and hyper-targeted digital age. It certainly seems that customers are re-discovering their appreciation for ‘old-fashioned’ print marketing materials too.

Print is Still a Thriving Industry

Hard data backs this up. Given the huge amount of time spent online, it may surprise you to learn that print is still a thriving industry. With a turnover of £13.8billion, and as an employer of some 116,000 people (see this great report by BPiF for the full details), print is very much alive and kicking. In 2017, physical book sales were up by a whopping 8% compared to the previous year; that’s the highest level since 2012!* Print it seems, is anything but dead.

Whilst digital channels pixelated their way forward to claim centre screen, the print industry has been consistently performing behind the scenes, constantly evolving, and addressing previous pain points.

Thanks to advances in digital print technology, we can now produce collateral in a much shorter turnaround time and it’s finally economical to produce smaller print runs.

As well as improvements to speed and waste reduction, digital print allows you to create a truly personalised experience for your recipient – meaning you can alter the finer details, such as the text and graphics of each job. It’s important to note that digital print benefits from the traditional range of print finishing techniques just as much as litho. Plus with the broader range of creative paper stock available, creatively there’s so much at your disposal to produce something wonderful.

Here at Douglas we’ve been printing for over 40 years using top-of-the-range Heidleberg presses for our litho print work. Our latest investment into new digital tech is a Ricoh Pro C7100x, which is a fantastic machine. Adding Fusion Pro for Variable Data Printing (VDP) offers endless possibilities for personalisation and gives our clients the opportunity to benefit from more targeted, meaningful communications.

If you’re reading this shaking your head, wondering why you’ve been neglecting print marketing opportunities in your business plan, then you’re not alone. In the past few years, online trends have seen brands invest heavily in their digital output at the expense of their printed materials, which is why there’s arguably such a huge opportunity to make an impact over competitors by incorporating printed campaigns.

As an agency with over 40 years experience in print, we see first-hand the positive impact of an effective, quality, printed campaign and the huge number of leads this channel can create for our clients when it works in partnership with their digital marketing efforts.

5 Reasons Why You Can’t Afford to Overlook Print Channels

With this in mind here are five important reasons why you simply can’t afford to overlook print channels in your 2018 marketing plan:

Reason #1: Make Your Customers Feel Valued
It’s a simple concept. When customers feel valued they are more likely to remain loyal to your brand. They want to feel special and that a company has gone that extra mile for them and there’s something about print marketing (and in particular direct mail) that feels that bit more personal than other channels.

We mentioned earlier some of the enhanced personalisation that’s now possible thanks to digital print. In fact, print is a far more customisable medium than you might think and you can tailor deeply personalised messages that engage your audience in a variety of different print formats.

And this goes far beyond simple salutations and name and address fields, extending to unique reference numbers and even barcodes to ensure you get the best response from your campaigns.

Reason #2: Print is Tangible and Builds a Lasting Impression
The truth is it’s very easy to abandon digital content; to be distracted by another notification that pops up on screen or the auto play of yet more video content. Print materials, however, require more concentration and that time investment screams value.

When we have a constant connection to a screen, mindlessly flicking from one app to another, it can be easy to zone out and not absorb the content. In comparison, the sensory elements that make printed materials unique (from touch, to smell, to sight) make them especially appealing.

We can argue that tangible media therefore can impact for much longer time. Think about our own behaviour, quite often we hold on to a magazine, brochure or leaflet for future reference or we pass it along to a friend or family member. The impression print makes is so much more lasting.

Reason #3: Print Has Gravitas
In this era of ‘fake news’ and unregulated online journalism, printed items offer a reassuringly trustworthy experience. The words and images in print have the unique ability to catch the eye and grab and hold a reader’s attention far more than any other medium. We devour the content, and its physical nature conveys authority and credibility; building trust with your brand.

In these difficult times of economic, social and political change, it’s more important than ever to build trust using reputable, respected communication materials. Therefore, print marketing signals to your customer that you’re a respectable source and this can be a decisive factor for your consumer to choose your service over that of your competitors’.

Because of this, traditional media formats are rising back up the agenda of marketers because trusted data suggests advertising in these channels retains higher levels of consumer trust.

Reason #4: It’s Different and Creative
To truly showcase beautiful eye-catching design; you need to choose the medium of print. Why? Because quite simply, you can’t put a website on your coffee table.

For good reason, catalogues and brochures are still popular, even for businesses that do the bulk of their sales online. They catch the eye and intrigue the reader. A little cleverly applied creativity can make all the difference, grabbing your ideal customers’ attention and encouraging them to engage with your materials.

Using a special print finish is just one way to elevate your print and create a positive, lasting impression. Whether it’s the shine of a spot UV, the fine distinction of embossing, the prestige of foiling or the luxurious feel of a soft-touch laminate – using one or more finish from the broad variety on offer will certainly make the end result that extra bit special and noticeable.

Another technique that can transform your printed work is binding; we’ve written all about this here in an earlier blog.

Your choice of print materials also communicates a lot about your company and there are huge ranges of creative paper stocks to choose from and carefully match to your messaging.

Quality paper stock simply oozes status and professionalism, elevating your brand above the competition. Colour, texture and thickness should all be carefully considered to create something truly show stopping.

Reason #5: The Future of Print is Exciting
Savvy marketers are beginning to recognise the potential of print as a whole new jumping-off point for readers to explore enhanced worlds through the possibilities of Augmented Reality (AR).

AR represents an interesting opportunity to increase engagement between consumers and brands and enhance the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. It’s a vehicle that ties digital and print together and it helps businesses showcase their products in a fresh, new way.

AR technology can be applied to print using a similar principle to QR codes. Recipients are encouraged to scan certain areas of a printed ad, magazine or mailer to access additional content like videos, 3D images or digital games.

With a little imagination these features can be applied to mailers and any other printed mediums to enhance the user’s experience of your brand. What’s exciting about this prospect is that it helps to make campaigns more measurable, and additional metrics (like app downloads, videos views etc.), can be used to determine the success rate of the campaign.

Near Field Communications (NFC) is another truly exciting advancement for print. This is technology that enables smartphones and other devices to establish a radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity.

So what does that have to do with print?
Well technical paper formulations now exist (such as PowerCoat) which allow for the printing of complex electronic circuitry directly onto paper, ushering in the next generation of smart products for many industries. This NFC-ready paper can be programmed to trigger a multitude of functions on any enabled device. Think of the huge interactive possibilities this generates for magazine advertisements, packaging, labels and such like, to deliver other additional special content to users through special offers or additional product information. Pretty amazing capabilities that we’re utilising here at Douglas to the great benefit of our clients.

Print Marketing in 2018

It’s clear that adding print channels back into the marketing mix is not a gimmick; it is, in fact, a strategic move to elevate you above the competition. By bucking the trend for solely digital offerings, you end up standing-out in a positive way.

The reality, in 2018, is that companies need a strategically planned blend of both digital and printed communications to effectively deliver an omni-channel customer experience.

When it comes to the print marketing side, what’s important is quality-finished items – an arresting cover, a compelling variety of content, and great visuals – with a little cleverly applied creativity to go further than the best and most innovative digital experiences to remain ahead of the curve. Luckily, at Douglas we know a thing or two about that.

*source: https://www.publishers.org.uk/media-centre/news-releases/2017/uk-publishing-has-record-year-up-7-to-48bn/

To discuss your own e-commerce requirements or wider digital marketing strategy get in touch with the Douglas experts

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