Not too long ago we received an email for an eBook entitled, “The Power of Print (in Marketing).” A cynic might find it curious that a book touting print communications is published as an eBook and promoted via email. But it’s a perfect example of the complex nature of direct marketing today. Marketers must find the perfect mix of cross-channel efforts to get the attention of their audience and provide them with information in their preferred format, at the right time.
The future of print communications comes up often during discussions with customers, colleagues and initial meetings with prospects. While it’s true that advanced database and printing technologies have reduced the volume of direct mail, that doesn’t mean the power of print is fading. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Print, specifically direct mail, is more powerful, relevant and essential than ever.
There are four very good reasons we feel strongly about the staying power of print:
1. Print Brings Marketing to Life
Unlike electronic communications, which can be discarded in a split-second, print is tangible. Recipients can interact with the piece. It engages people in a way monitors, tablets and mobile devices can’t. Using various textures, opening devices and substrates allows marketers to connect with their audience in ways electronic channels can’t replicate.
2. Print is Measurable
Direct mail continues to outperform electronic in acquiring new customers. Consumers readily accept direct mail as a vehicle companies use to market their products and services. Electronic channels are best suited for personal communication. But most importantly, direct mail is highly measurable and the ROI is strong.
3. Print Is Evolving
Looking ahead, print will continue to play a leading role in cross-channel marketing programs. Marketers know that direct mail gets attention and drives response through a variety of preferred channels. The Postal Service continues to use promotions that encourage marketers to explore ways to link physical and digital media. While marketers may initially try new technologies to get the postage discount, the use of these technologies will grow as adopters discover the effectiveness of print and digital working together.
4. Print and Electronic Are a Powerful Mixture
Marketers are also learning that direct mail and electronic shouldn’t be an either/or proposition. Sophisticated marketers have learned direct mail and electronic team up to provide consumers with a seamless connection to relevant online experiences while making the interaction with printed communications more interactive and engaging. One of the most interesting presentations at this year’s PODi AppForum included a discussion on the impact of direct mail on email campaigns and vice-versa. Paul Strack from CustomXM presented case studies that demonstrated increased response when both direct mail and email were used in concert. Our clients have also witnessed response to other channels decline when direct mail was removed from the marketing mix.
These are just a few reasons the power of print remains strong. If you’re interested in the eBook, you can find it here. But if you would like to discuss the future of paper with me in greater detail, send me an email. Or if you prefer, drop a letter in the mail!
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