Print still has a place, and will for a long time.
In an age when glossy marketing catalogs are giving way to digital presentations and consumer brochures are bowing to company blogs and YouTube how-to videos, is there still a place in small businesses for print marketing?
The resounding answer is yes, but with qualifications. Digital and print each have the things they are best at doing, but print still holds its own for conveying a variety of responses from consumers; luxury, the intimacy of experience, and depth of information without complexity.
There are many industries, often serving fairly specific demographics, that will always appreciate and need a tangible representation of a product. Mobile makes it easier for sales reps to carry an array of connected sales collateral, and many businesses are shying away from print to cut costs and lessen their impact on the carbon footprint.
Many traditional communication channels, such as newsletters, have definitely shifted to the digital realm. However, the shift to digital marketing may have given print an unintentional advantage: mailboxes aren’t as cluttered, thanks to digital marketing. The web, of course, is more cluttered. Which leaves an opening for print.
With many businesses allocating marketing dollars to digital, those using print marketing methods may have a greater chance of reaching their target audiences.
Some Things Can’t Be Measured.
However, analyzing the effectiveness of print versus digital is difficult. Finding metrics for nearly every type of digital campaign is simple, and most marketers can easily monitor their digital ROI and break it down.
It’s far more difficult to assess traditional print media. You can measure response rates, but it’s impossible to know open rates or read rates or the time spent with the materials.
These days, digital and traditional mix well together. Tracking codes can help print ads feed digital analytics and improve insights. Companies used to send large catalogs, which were costly. Now, they can send a simple mailer with codes or URLs sending customers to specific, trackable, destinations.
And, many industries still benefit from direct-mail campaigns. Especially when the information is typically shared more informally between family, friends, or colleagues. Large retailers know how women shop for example – that catalog may sit on the coffee table getting dog-eared by the whole family for weeks.
No business is 100% Digital.
No business should shift entirely to digital. Each business must analyze its target audience before allocating the marketing budget. You have to know your audience. Evaluate your clients and their specific needs to determine what will work best. Don’t jump on the bandwagon just because it’s the latest big thing.