Print, as an activity, is the production of large quantities of material that are transferred from digital design platforms and documents to paper based material in the form of leaflets, posters, brochures and information packs. Where print is restricted to wherever its physically distributed, digital advertising materials are produced on computer and distributed online, and therefore can be seen through various appliances such as mobile phones, tablet computers and conventional desktops, while the reach can prove dramatically more extensive.
In B2C markets, marketing efforts are still often proven to be more effective via print. This is because shoppers are more likely to engage and use print materials for promotions rather than referencing online promotions that can be used in store. People generally respond to tangible objects better than online counterparts. In an age of endless marketing emails into people’s inboxes everyday, printed materials are also easier to come back to in the future, they can be tucked away and for people to use when the time is right.
A recent survey carried out showed that out of 6,700 B2B decision makers that sourced information, 73% of them found the related searches on websites, 67% from newsletters and 45% from print magazines. Both B2B and B2C customers use digital and printed marketing materials, just for different purposes. Although there is a decrease in printed marketing materials, it is still a powerful process to increase exposure and bring in new business via a direct method.
Printed or online advertising?
One benefits of print is tangibility. As mentioned, printed marketing materials can stay for in people’s homes or offices for months, even years, before an eventual purchase while online marketing is very quickly absorbed into cyber space.
Credibility is another big factor when it comes to advertising. Pop-up ads and banner advertising online can agitate your target audience, and the growth of downloaded computer viruses from the internet can make many consumers somewhat cautious in the future after encountering viruses.
Print advertising can extend your brand image beyond the internet and break into more traditional consumer demographics. It’s a great way of strengthening your brand image with people that have otherwise not see it online like many other customers.
Printed advertising can also sometimes reach audiences that aren’t available online, and while the demand for print decreases, so to should the prices as per the laws of supply and demand. Although there has been a surge of growth in online advertising in the last decade, print advertising still offers comparable returns on investment when analysed against online advertisements.
Yet, despite these encouraging facts about print, digital methods for marketing also have their advantages.
Digital marketing provides an immediate response system for feedback and enquiries that printed means can never replicate. Digital methods also provide quick access to news and information from the audience about your latest product launches, and how they are being received in the community of your online audience. Print is notoriously more difficult to improve and change errors in, because after it’s been psychically sent to your target audience, your only option to to halt (and if possible, retract print deliveries) is to start the printing progress again after corrections have been made. Digital marketing materials are quick to alter with new information, changes for promotions and ultimately stress free.
Digital also lets you target mass amounts of your target audience for a small expenditure, while printed marketing campaigns prove a lot more expensive. It is far more accessible than print can ever be, and it’s tools for creation and sharing with your target audience are fully portable – unlike printed methods that always require a much wider range of apparatus and staff for its management in distributing new campaigns.
Dead or dying?
Despite what you may have heard, reports of the “death of print” have been greatly exaggerated. A survey in April by Deloitte found that 88% of magazine readers in the UK still prefer to consume articles via print. That is despite the fact that half of respondents to its state-of-the-media survey (2,276 UK consumers, aged 14 to 75) owned a smartphone, and 35% had subscribed to at least one printed magazine in 2011.
Of course, with the adoption of tablet devices on the rise, this figure could well be out of date already – particularly given the rapid improvement in the quality of digital publications, and the demand for them to do more than merely replicate the content of print titles online. But, regardless of some high-profile print closures in recent years, the stories of doom and gloom in the publishing industry have been tempered by a mini renaissance in independent titles. Perhaps, the old-fashioned paper and ink has an unlikely saviour.