Does print still matter?
James Kirk, Strategy Director
Yes, we are all looking at our devices, all the time. Yes, we are living in a tech-driven digital boom. And yes, innovation is creating some wonderful toys for marketers to play with. But amidst all of this, is there still a role for the humble medium of print in the marketing mix? Does print still matter?
As marketers, what matters is that we create integrated experiences that connect with consumers on a deeply emotional level. And I believe that print still has a crucial role to play in helping us to achieve this.
There are three reasons why:
1. No distractions
Print means no distractions or horrible interruptions, not even a low battery warning or bad signal to worry about.
It’s intimate and simple, with beautifully created images and words combined together at high quality.
A great piece of print can engross, inspire and deeply engage its readers in equal measure. It offers a tranquil alternative to the continual bombardment of emails, calls, breaking news and tweets that our devices provide.
Number 2 – Authority
Print media has, for hundreds of years, been a trusted source for information and news. It is committed to real paper and is fixed which carries great authority and gravitas. A reader can feel the texture of the paper, turn the pages of a magazine or see the brilliant colours shine on the page of a high-gloss book. This combination of features can inspire confidence amongst readers. It gives it a sense of authority.
Number 3 – Innovation
Innovation isn’t just confined to digital media. Technology isn’t standing still in the world of print as innovations in stock, inks and machinery have emerged in recent years, such as inkless paper and the 3D printing industry that is estimated to be worth billions in the near future and has the potential to revolutionise the way messages are delivered to audiences.
But of course, this isn’t a simple case of choosing print over digital, and vice-versa. They can be comfortable bed-fellows and much research suggests that integrating the two provides significant benefits to brands.
So before we dive straight into an assumption that a digital or print solution must be the right one to enable us to achieve our brand objectives, it is vital that we pause and reflect on what we’re trying to achieve, and most importantly, who we’re trying to engage.
By taking an audience-led approach like this, we’re able to build a deep understanding of our audience, their attitudes, motivations and influencers, and the best way of reaching them. With this evidence base in hand, we can then make informed, objective decisions on the right blend of marketing channels to adopt.
We have worked in this evidence-based way with many of our clients across the education, health, social care and tourism sectors points, and have noticed a clear move back to including print as a key channel in the marketing mix. And so if this offers any evidence of whether print matters to marketers of today, then the answer is definitely yes – but only when it is right for the brand and the audience.