Almost every marketer today is focusing on web and mobile marketing, with good reason. By 2020, there will be 6.1 billion smartphones in use around the world, according to Ericsson.
And that’s just smartphones. Billions of eyes also are gazing at tablets, laptops, wearables, and desktop PCs.
So where does that leave print marketing? Do marketers still need printed promotional materials in such a tech-driven, screen-obsessed world?
The answer is yes. Here are six reasons why print still packs a punch in a smart marketing strategy.
6 Marketing Advantages Only Print Can Deliver
When I advise businesses today on how to do effective marketing, I always recommend using the web and social media.
But it’s a rare marketing plan that doesn’t also include creating and distributing printed materials. Why? Because print continues to offer B2B and B2C marketers powerful advantages:
- Unlimited creative options: I’ve always loved direct marketing because of its creative freedom. From dimensions to formats, paper to personalization, direct mail can become almost anything a creative team can dream up. The same is true for printed sales collateral and presentation materials. Budget is the only factor that limits what you can create with print.
- Effective branding: Through paper stocks, coatings, shapes, sizes, folds, bindery techniques, and printing methods, print can make an unforgettable impression and create a unique feeling about a marketer, delivering the essence of a brand in a way that cannot be duplicated online.
- Enhanced customer relationships: Print plays a key role in customer relationships, enabling marketers to share news and information, cross-sell products and services, and deliver personalized messages, especially in customer loyalty programs. Email and social media also are vital for customer communication, but nothing encourages me to visit a Nordstrom store like having a $20 Nordstrom Note from the Nordstrom Rewards program tucked in my purse.
- Increased understanding: People still need to read and study printed materials to make important decisions, especially when comparing products or reviewing technical specifications. I can go online to learn how to upgrade my iPhone to the new 6S+, but if I visit a Verizon or AT&T store to explore my options, each retailer will hand me printed material to explain my choices — and I’ll probably want to read it.
- Durability and permanence: A printed message has far more permanence than a message online. It’s not a 6-second Vine video or a tweet, consumed, discarded, and forgotten in mere moments. Because print lasts, it’s often kept and referred to again and again.
- Engagement: Print is physical and touchable and that physical interaction adds a vital dimension to engagement, demanding attention from the customer or prospect. When compelling printed materials are in front of you, you can’t resist picking them up. That’s one reason catalogs are making a comeback after years of decline.
Three Ways to Be Smart About Using Print
If print marketing is part of your smart marketing strategy, use it wisely:
- Work closely with your printer before you finalize design. A knowledgeable printer can help you select the right paper and choose cost-effective formats.
- Printing techniques and enhancements like special inks, coatings, die-cuts, glue dots, foil stamping, embossing, and debossing can help you deliver your messages creatively and effectively, but keep budget and good taste in mind. Not everything needs gold-foil stamping.
- If you’re using direct mail, use data to carefully target your mail to your best prospects and ensure delivery through accurate addressing. And design with postage in mind: You’ll pay lower rates if your mailings comply with USPS regulations.