5 Reasons Print Beats Digital Marketing

By LeRay Warrior, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.  

Print Beats Digital MarketingThere’s no question that business operating today have to embrace the digital world. With the Internet of Things on the horizon, the need to have a digital presence is a foregone conclusion. With that in mind, many business leaders may incorrectly think they should just dump print, and digitize all marketing output.

Making that assumption would be a mistake. Many recent studies and surveys have shown that there’s still a place for print in the marketing mix. In fact, for a great deal of companies, print is still the highest performing marketing channel.

But how can this be? Here are 5 reasons – backed by evidence – that explain why print is still just as effective in today’s marketing climate.

1. Print Signifies Trust

Even the most digital savvy of generations such as Generation Z or Millennials trust print over digital sources. As part of an in-depth study undertaken last year, consumers revealed that only 16% of participants trusted social media as a source of information. Yet when asked about print, 73% trusted it as an information source.

In the current climate of constant misinformation and so-called “fake news” disseminated online, it appears that print has come to demand more respect from would-be consumers. The same study confirmed as much by reporting that 33% of those surveyed reacted to something they found on social media which they later found out to be fake news. A figure that had doubled from the previous year. Therefore, if you’ve got something important to say as a company, then print is the method to have your message trusted.

2. Print Outperforms Email in Every Way

So many of today’s marketing gurus preach the message of, “the money is in the list!”. Of course, they are referring to email lists. However, recent statistics are starting to show that consumers are becoming tired of the constant bombardment of their inbox each and every day. 70% of consumers feel they receive too many emails, and much worse, 51% delete an email within two seconds. How’s that for brand awareness?

The apathy felt towards marketing emails may help to explain why response rates from printed direct mail campaigns are 3,567% higher that they are from emails. Yes, you read that figure correctly. Response rates for targeted direct mailing campaigns average at 4.4%, whereas email averages 0.12%. If you need to instigate a response from your customers, print is the method to use.

3. Print Always Leaves a Tangible Impression

As mentioned, print is less common in today’s digital world, which makes it stand out even more. Print requires readers to actually slow down and absorb the content, which is why it’s so effective in educational marketing materials.

It also stands out physically. If you click away from a brand’s website, you may never think about it again. However, if you had received a magazine from the same company then it’s always there. A reader can pick it up and put it down, and keep coming back to it. It’s presence alone is a constant brand reminder. Which is why 60% of people think printed mail helps to keep a brand top of mind.

Eye-catching colors and bold designs can also help print marketing stand out in the more traditional settings such as office cubicles. Colleagues will ask their coworker “what’s that?” when noticing an attention-grabbing front cover, instigating a conversation about your brand.

4. Print Drives Action

Getting individuals to take action in response to your marketing is becoming harder than ever. But print still leads the way. 79% of those who receive direct mail campaigns act on them immediately, whereas just 45% of email recipients state that they deal with those messages straight away.

Similarly, of the 56% of direct mail recipients that spend time reading the materials, 92% are driven to online activity, 87% are influenced to make online purchases, and 54% engage in social media. Who said print is old-fashioned? If anything, these figures prove that printed materials are great at influencing online decision making. Therefore, they should form a vital part of any company’s marketing mix.

5. Print is Actually Greener

This point may be difficult to believe, but it’s true. Yes, the fact that printing requires the felling of trees is currently unavoidable, not to mention the environmental issues associated with the inks used for printing. However, having said all of that, the carbon footprint of a printing run is a one-time contributor. On the other hand, digital media requires energy every single time it is consumed.

A recent PrintCity report found that the paper, pulp, and printing industry combined utilizes roughly 1% of available global energy resources. To put that in perspective, data centers responsible powering cloud-based online resources use 4% on their own.

Better still, certain types of paper and inks are also easily recyclable, whereas that energy lost to powering online resources needs to be regenerated and replaced. Oftentimes, print is used more than once (think of the magazine example above), whereas the majority of our digital consumption is a “one and done” scenario.

Print Helps a Business to Stand Out

As we spend an ever-increasing amount of time online, many companies have prematurely rung the death knell for print. However, as these points have shown, print isn’t dead. Far from it. The constant noise provided by online advertising and social media has driven people to value the art of well-crafted print marketing more than ever.

Consumers are more likely to take action, engage with a brand, and even make a purchase in reaction to receiving printed materials. We know this to be the case because we spend each week helping leading brands deliver printed marketing campaigns that deliver staggering returns on investment, specifically when compared to more popular marketing tactics such as digital pay-per-click campaigns.

We’ve recognized the potential of print. By investing heavily in the latest printing technology, we are now able to deliver industry-leading turnaround times, with more touch points and a more effective fulfillment process for your business needs. Don’t hesitate to contact our team today

1 reply
  1. Jan S Gephardt
    Jan S Gephardt says:

    I may be biased in favor of print because my business roots lie deep in “old-school” direct marketing, but I’m fascinated to look at the environmental impact information. I haven’t seen that perspective before.


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