In an age of digital saturation, print is often cast as the Rodney Dangerfield of marketing, rarely getting the respect it deserves. But underestimating this 1,800-year-old form of communication is a mistake.
Print media is portable, tactile, engages readers more than digital content, and doesn’t disappear if the power goes out or a battery dies. It also offers an unplugged option to media consumers desperate for a minute away from the glow of a screen.
A whopping 73 percent of consumers said they prefer mail advertisements to those in any other medium in a survey conducted by International Communications Research. A study by the Chief Marketing Officer Council and InfoPrint Solutions Company found that they are 56 percent opened promotional offers delivered in the mail, compared to 41 percent of similar email promotions.
Compared to a busy inbox, so-called “snail mail” could be an untapped goldmine. The volume of printed marketing materials hitting consumer mailboxes is low, giving your carefully crafted message a chance to shine.
Not Dead Yet
Though popular satirical website The Onion eulogized print media in 2013, print won’t be knocking on death’s door any time soon; however, landscape is changing. Fewer new magazines were created in 2013, 185 compared to 227 in 2012, but just 56 magazine titles closed their doors compared to 82 in 2012.
Other publications are keeping the doors open with revamped strategies, such as New York magazine’s decision to print 26 times a year instead of 42. Still others, such as Newsweek, are getting back in the print game after trying to survive in a strictly digital format, only to find that approach didn’t serve the bottom line.
Connect the Dots
Print is powerful, but that doesn’t mean it’s time for a company to close its Facebook page strictly in favor of a monthly newsletter. Hardcopy works best as part of a multiplatform marketing plan that includes rich web content and a solid social media strategy that keeps consumers engaged and excited.
Successful print media can stand alone and serve as a springboard, propelling your audience to an expanded online experience. Use QR codes to direct them to websites, service lines, surveys, referral information, and more in-depth content online. See the “Creating Compelling Content” article in this issue for more actionable strategies.
After years of carrying on despite the funeral dirge, the pendulum has begun to swing in print’s favor. Successful online content creators such as Pitchfork are realizing the potential of the medium to reach niche groups. Using the highly targeted strategies perfected online, savvy brands and marketers are creating new connections to consumers through print.
It will be innovators like these who carry on the rich tradition of print, crafting the words and designs that inspire consumers to check out a new restaurant or spend a rainy Saturday afternoon thumbing through past issues of a favorite magazine.