Why Print Marketing Isn’t Dead in 2020


Adam SmithDigital Marketing Manager at Mixam

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Booklets, catalogs, brochures, postcards – some might consider these printed marketing materials as relics of a bygone era. They’d be surprised to find out that printing isn’t a dying industry; in fact, it’s thriving. And when it comes to marketing, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t give up on print.

Article 3 Minutes
Why Print Marketing Isn’t Dead in 2020

Print marketing makes an impression

Printed marketing materials make a greater impression on customers than digital content, since it’s tangible and provokes a more robust emotional response.

In a study from the US Postal Service and Temple University, results show that people consumed digital ads more quickly, but physical ads elicited a stronger, more lasting response. Consider also that direct mail open rate is between 80-90%, whereas email open rates are 20-30%. Print collateral materials are also more likely to have an impact because customers prefer printed marketing over other forms of advertising. In essence, 54% said they prefer to receive mail from brands they’re interested in. Capturing a customer’s attention with print might be more difficult at the outset, but once you have their attention, you hold it for longer.

Print lasts

Catalogs and booklets have a longer lifespan than any digital ads. Producing and sending out printed advertising materials takes longer than running a digital campaign, and results are harder to track. But once your digital marketing campaign ends, your ads disappear. Once a brochure or booklet reaches a customer, it sticks around until the customer decides to throw it out. According to Canada Post, print is easier to understand and recall as it requires 21% less cognition to absorb it.

Print ads are more trustworthy

In a Marketing Sherpa survey, 82% of respondents trust print ads the most when making a purchase decision. As illustrated below, digital advertising methods didn’t even make the top five most trusted marketing channels.

MarketingSherpa - types of advertising channels that consumers trust

Customers are more likely to trust print ads because there are no distractions or other digital noise to cut through. There are no pop-ups or auto-play ads with printed materials, which, according to Hubspot, digital users are growing weary of. Research highlights that 91% agree that digital ads are more intrusive today compared to previous years, and 81% close a browser or leave a page as a result. People tend to be more focused when they consume print ads, too. It’s less common to multitask when reading booklets like journals or magazines, and people are less likely to be looking for specific information when reading these booklets. Customers are better able to concentrate on a print ad and retain its contents.

Print marketing gets better response rates

It might be surprising, but print has better response rates than digital ads. Direct mail has a 5.1% response rate, compared to 0.6% for email and paid search, and even lower for social media and online display. Additionally, 79% of customers act on direct mail immediately, compared to only 45% with email.

Direct mail response rates have also been increasing in recent years, rising by as much as 43%. Those rates, along with the fact that 39% of customers first try a business because of print advertising, make this type of marketing worthwhile when it comes to customer response.

Print marketing has higher levels of engagement

Response rate is only one metric for gauging customer interaction with print marketing. Engagement levels also show how successful print is. On average, consumers spend about 30 minutes reading their mail, and 79% find it more convenient than reading emails.

When asked to cite the brand of an ad they had just seen, the recall rate for print was 75% and only 44% for a digital advertisement. Those who claim ‘print marketing is dead,’ are wrong, with 88% of millennials saying that print is more official than digital, with further studies highlighting that they spend more time with physical ads than digital ads.

Final thoughts

Print marketing makes a better impression, lasts longer, captures higher trust, gets better response rates, and engages customers more than digital marketing. There are many other benefits to using print ads, brochures, or booklets in your marketing campaign, but these five alone prove that print marketing isn’t dead in 2020.

Adam Smith

Adam Smith lives a life of swashbuckling adventure at Mixam – a print company with big ambitions! He writes for Mixam with the mission of helping designers and entrepreneurs make the right decisions when printing.


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