August 03, 2022

The power of print in a digital age

A lot of people thought that the rise of the internet was going to sound the death knell for print. But it’s alive and kicking and indeed thriving. Whilst so much of our lives are consumed with digital technology and media, we still yearn for the visual impact and physical touch of printed communications.  

But how has the humble printed page managed to survive against such ever growing competition? Well, for starters printing techniques have kept up with technology, as has design technology and typography. Designs and creations are getting ever more impressive. But this is only one piece of the puzzle – as one of the reasons print has remained such a persuasive piece of marketing material is down to the way we are as humans and how we react to it.

We’re hotwired to prefer print

It’s been found that it takes 21% less cognitive effort to read and process print than digital material. In addition, you’re more likely to remember what you’ve read. And not a bit more, 70% more. That makes quite a difference when it comes to delivering your message.

Print also connects with us on an emotional level. You don’t just see it. When it’s a leaflet, piece of DM, page in a newspaper or brochure, you’re touching and interacting with it. This emotional connection means we’re actually more likely to want the product or service we’ve seen, albeit on a subconscious level.

Print doesn’t just disappear

Digital marketing is a never satisfied monster that needs constantly feeding. As a result, web content is constantly flooded with ever-changing ads, blogs and articles. So many in fact, it can be too much to take in. On top of this, competition for an audience is fierce.

Print on the other hand can be around forever. Or at the very least sit on your coffee table for a few weeks. A brochure may therefore seem a costly outlay, but not when you compare it to producing a never ending stream of digital ads and content, it becomes a much more cost-effective exercise that has more stand out and longevity.

Print reaches people and interacts with them

When you send an email campaign, how many emails actually get through your target market’s spam filters? Or how many ads are blocked by ever-smarter ad-blockers?

Again, print comes out on top. There’s nothing stopping your audience from opening a page and seeing your ad or that piece of direct mail landing on their doorstep.

And when people do hold a piece of printed material it has value. So much so that it could be kept just for aesthetic reasons.  As shown in a study for the Royal Mail which found that the resurgence in popularity of direct mail was because the giving, receiving and handling of actual objects rather than digital messages is an intuitive part of the human experience.

Even Millennials love print

It’s easy to think that print is better for an older market, while digital is for a younger audience. But again, this isn’t true. Even though Millennials we’re brought up with a device in their hand, they still love old school direct mail. It creates an emotional response that digital marketing just can’t achieve

Just as TV has not caused the demise of radio, the same is true of print. It is holding its own against its digital would-be usurper. As with TV and radio advertising, it is more a case of using each medium in the right way to reach the right audience. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. By understanding these, you can get the best ROI possible on your next marketing campaign.

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