Since the turn of the millennium, print marketing has come under increasing threat from the rising tide of digital.
However, despite being seen by some as more pedestrian and less dynamic than screen-based interaction, print remains very important and still commands our respect. This is evident when you consider that 80% of consumers will respond immediately to direct mail, whereas just 45% will give an immediate response to email.
The attraction carries into modern marketing; research by Canadian neuro-marketing firm, True Impact, discovers print to be 70% easier and more effective in terms of brand recall among candidates exposed to direct mail rather than a digital advertisement. Meanwhile, in financial terms print is still holding its bottom line, bringing healthier ROI than advertising online.
Digital may be the buzzword, but companies that aspire to a fully digitised future may risk disenfranchising consumers, 16 million of whom do not possess basic online skills. Far from being a choice between the two, a blend of the two approaches is pushing the envelope in all facets of today’s B2B and B2C communities.
Benefits in print logistics
Thanks to cloud technology, companies can now print locally and therefore more efficiently for the first time.
Platforms linking print houses around the world are enabling organisations to produce where needed, allowing physical marketing materials to be created and delivered in much shorter time spaces; what once involved a delivery chain of weeks and even months can now be streamlined to a few days.
This development has really altered how print is perceived by marketers. Print processes are more efficient and transparent so that firms can resonate more closely with market demand to produce more measured quantities and bring down waste.
Digital is being used to deepen print’s value, boosting content strength while helping the users with less tech experience to take steps into the online world.
Quick response (QR) codes are barcodes that can be read by smartphones and other devices to help drive loyalty and engagement by linking print readers to a wealth of cyber resources such as emails, websites and contact details. Today they are employed creatively on product packaging, shop displays and especially in advertising.
Car manufacturer, Ford, took advantage in 2014 with a print advertisement for the Ford Explorer which enabled interactive elements through a QR code, showing the car in action.
Advertising that leaps off the page
Print is taking advantage of digital to bring levels of creativity, and new and exciting marketing methods that are truly cutting edge.
Car manufacturer Volkswagen brought the first ever ‘test drive in a print ad’ with a three-page map advert that put smartphone users behind the wheel. The experience comes through an app which vibrates the phone if the ‘car’ gets too close to the edges of the map’s road.
Other firms to use smartphone technology to bring print ads to life include Finnish telecommunications company, Sonera with its interactive board game advertisement, and fashion retailer C&A which linked print ads in customised magazines to readers’ Facebook accounts.
Technologies rooted in digitisation have also allowed print adverts to be enhanced in ways that do not involve smartphones. Glacial concocted a very effective pull-out advert that could be frozen and then wrapped around a beer, keeping the reader’s beverage cool in a way that demonstrates that print advertising can take on new dimensions when dovetailed with modern technology.
As modern consumers learn to tune out of digital bombardments or avoid them through ad-blockers, young adults (18- 34-year olds) are paying far more attention to traditional advertising in which print plays a key role.
In an ever-more digital world the old-school appeal of the written word has turned print into something of a beacon whose power we are hard-wired to respect and connect with.
Far from being marginalised, print could be the fundamental ingredient which marketing alchemists are fusing with digital to create advertising gold.
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