by Geoff Somner
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes
As easy and appealing as it may be, don’t allow yourself to get stuck in a ‘Digital Only’ mindset. It’s great that you’ve hired that Social Media whizz who can write a winning tweet, manage numerous accounts and produce the most magical of email templates but they don’t need to go at the coalface alone. It is undeniable that the role of print has changed over the last few years, maybe it has become more niche. But maybe that’s a good thing. What was once the norm is now seen as unique and can really set you apart from the crowd. You can have the biggest ‘U’ in your USP. Any business wanting to advertise their products and services to potential clients should certainly have print in their marketing mix.
As a way of extolling the value of print, let me present to you an example that we at Accent have experienced whilst carrying out numerous marketing campaigns of our own over the last few years. After going completely digital for a couple of years, we then returned to sending out a printed Christmas newsletter in 2014 and the difference in response has been remarkable. Whereas previously we could see from our email tracking data that our correspondence was rarely being opened (let alone read) we have since had a great deal of feedback from clients about the printed newsletter. It was also clear from them that, not only had they delved into the content, they had appreciated that we took the trouble of sending them something tangible rather than just being part of a mass email. They were still just a name on a mailing list but it felt like more of a personal touch.
There are a number of attributes of printed materials that just aren’t the same in the digital world:
People place great value in physical things, particularly those featuring the written word. Subsequently they’re more likely to value and keep them. If the information about a product or service is tangible, then it makes the product or service feel more tangible itself.
The tactility of a printed product means that it engages more of the senses – including touch and smell, as well as sight, which in turn means that associated information is more likely to be retained. Tactility of printed materials can be further enhanced by the use of specialist papers, print finishes, bindings and inks.
Print is not constrained to the size, or to the two-dimensions of a screen and design does not have to account for different screen sizes or proportions, leading to greater freedom of creativity. And print is not limited to leaflets and brochures – we are also talking about creative use of exhibition stands, vehicle signage, packaging, point of sale materials, promotional items and even stress toys.
Unlike email marketing, which could be viewed (if at all) on any number of different devices and platforms, print is consistent. And this allows your message to be pure and incorruptible.
What will work for your organisation will depend on the services you offer and the markets you need to reach but the power of the printed word should not be underestimated. It has reached the point now where we view email as junk and will bin unsolicited email without a second thought, but are less likely to do so with printed leaflets or brochures.
Bear in mind however that print is just part of your arsenal, alongside your digital communications. Make sure that you deal with creatives that know when to use which weapons and can apply your brand creatively and consistently across both print and web – whilst maintaining your well planned brand values.
A Computer Science graduate way back when, Geoff is an experienced programmer utilising his system analysis and interface design skills to enable the team to build effective applications.