Sometimes when you have to make a choice, you can end up making the wrong one. When it comes to choosing between print and digital media you don’t have to decide between the two, as they both have a role to play in your marketing message.
Digital media was supposed to supersede print but those predictions were first made nearly 20 years ago now and yet it is fair to say, that print matters just as much today to integrated marketers as it ever has.
Technology has definitely come a long way in just a couple of decades but the same can be said for print technology as well and print marketing has successfully continued to grow and evolve in line with any technological developments that have come our way.
You can construct what appears to be a convincing argument towards the advantages of digital over printed options.
A fine example would be the choice of buying a newspaper to read yesterday’s news or simply checking online and getting the latest headlines in an instant. This example and others like it, have created a line of thinking with some people that the demise of print is not a matter of if, but when it finally dies out.
Anyone who takes this view is actually missing an important number of pointers that actually suggest that print and digital can definitely co-exist and both mediums are more than capable of complementing the functionality and strengths of each other without needing to jostle for market position.
Print is just one example of where a new invention has arrived that seemed to herald the death of an existing technology.
There have certainly been cases where the new technology has beaten off its older rival but there are also plenty of examples where the introduction of a new product or way of working has prompted a re-definition of what people want going forward, and a way has been found to co-exist and thrive for both the old and the new technologies.
This is the scenario that exists for printed media. It has found a way to work alongside and compliment the digital options and offers a marketing tool that is uniquely distinct and therefore highly relevant, even in a digital age.
The impact of print
To understand the impact that printed media can still have on your audience, you only have to look at the way we are able to read books these days.
You can acquire an e-reader fairly cheaply these days, but swiping your finger across a screen is not quite the same sensory experience for many as the enjoyment derived from holding a physical book and the smell of newly-bound pages.
The impact of print should not be underestimated and physical book sales are a great example of how we don’t always want to lose that personal touch. Getting a personalised letter rather than an email can have a similar impact and helps you to stand out from the crowd.
Hand in hand
Direct mail has always been able to share a synergetic relationship with online marketing and the two go hand in hand as part of your co-ordinated marketing efforts.
Research suggests that a large percentage of small businesses consider that their ideal marketing mix consists of a combination of print and digital communications. Social media advertising campaigns are also regularly run in unison with print media as well, in order to get the best possible response rates from their marketing efforts.
Making the customer feel special
Just as people still like the feel of a book in their hands despite the invention of e-readers, customers want to feel special, which is achievable with personalised print.
Variable printing technology allows you change individual elements on each individual letter, and this can have a big impact on the recipient.
As well as personalising the letter with the recipient’s name, you are also able to create unique coupons with individual serial numbers on them. This flexibility has the dual effect of creating a good impression with the customer, who often appreciates the extra effort you have gone to, and it also allows you to track the success of the campaign by noting which coupons are redeemed.
To get the most out of your marketing efforts, you really do need to consider print and digital media as a team, that will work together and help drive sales using their unique individual attributes.
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