Given that we are one of the largest printing services suppliers in Bristol, you can imagine our delight that print is said to be enjoying something of a renaissance. It certainly seems to be the case. Our printing presses are busier than ever. Print allows people a welcome opportunity to disconnect from the noise of the ever-present online world. Everyone’s inboxes are overflowing and yet our in-trays and letterboxes are empty. That puts print in a powerful position. Let’s take a look at why print is enjoying a resurgence and how you can make print relevant and work together with your other marketing channels.
The big technology turn-off
In today’s digital world we are constantly connected. Everything is immediately accessible at a click. Whilst it’s convenient and efficient, it’s also relentless. It’s no wonder that according to the UK regulator Ofcom, one third of adults (that’s 15 million people) attempted a digital detox in 2016. They were searching for a healthier balance between technology and life beyond the screen. According to the results of Ofcom’s survey 33% found the time they spent offline to be a positive experience.
It’s not just print that is reaping the rewards of the backlash against the Internet. According to the Publishers Association, eBook sales plunged by 17% in the UK in 2016, while physical book sales rose by 8%. The picture is similar in the US where eBook sales declined by 1.7% in 2016 and paper book sales were up by 7.5%. With book lovers turning their backs on eBooks, independent bookshops are thriving. And the revolution doesn’t stop there. Vinyl records and record players are the latest ‘must have’ items for the home.
You might assume that it’s the nostalgic “older” generations that are leading the rebellion, but you’d be mistaken. Whilst online might be the channel of choice for millennials, it seems that this has only made them more impressed by print. These digital natives are rediscovering the joys of physically printed photos. Instant print cameras have made a massive comeback and sales of instant photo printers which allow photos to be printed directly from a smartphone are surging. That’s because it’s so gratifying to hold and keep hold of something that’s printed. And the stats support this.
The UK postal service has found that 92% of direct mail is opened, and 90% of consumers read the catalogues that are sent to them.
What’s more, 70% of consumers will go online after receiving a catalogue and more than 70% increase their number of purchases by £110 each.
The power of print
There’s no doubt that a piece of marketing collateral, whether it’s a postcard, flyer, newsletter, brochure, magazine, coupon or catalogue, has the opportunity to make a bigger impact than something that lands in an inbox. That’s because it’s something physical, tactile and tangible. It packs a powerful punch because it engages a multitude of senses, from sight, to touch and even smell. And unlike an email that you can simply dismiss with a click, you actually have to physically hold a piece of print in order to throw it away.
Another reason why print enjoys such success in marketing campaigns, is because people engage with physical print a lot longer than they would with something on their screen. When we’re online we skim read and are constantly distracted by other notifications or we’re looking for other information. When we pick up a piece of printed material we give it our attention and focus, and therefore we will read it more thoroughly.
In fact, printed catalogues and magazines allow brands to engage with customers for up to 25 minutes per session.
Direct mail is also more likely to be passed around and read by more people. You’re unlikely to get many, if any, thanks for forwarding an email and filling up someone’s inbox. However, if you hand over something printed it’s likely to be well received and given the attention it deserves. It may even get handed on again, and again.
Build your brand
That’s why we encourage our clients to invest time, effort and budget in their print. This is your greatest opportunity to build your brand and promote it to a wider audience. Delivering something in print to your customers and prospects carries prestige and demonstrates commitment. You’re physically putting your brand into a customer’s hands, so it’s critical that you create the right impression. By adding colours, foiling and textures you’re not just going to grab their attention, you’re going to immediately show them what your brand stands for.
Make it personal
Online marketing has led us all to expect a personal touch from the companies that we buy from. Communications have got to be relevant and personalised and with today’s digital printing technologies, it’s entirely possible to personalise every aspect of your printed marketing material, down to customer’s name, colour scheme, layout and products shown.
Get the right media mix
Of course we’re not suggesting that you focus all your marketing efforts and budget on print. There’s no denying that we live in a digital world and digital channels will always have people’s attention. But it’s a world where people are increasingly looking for balance and downtime from the online onslaught. Something that’s tactile and tangible provides welcome relief. So, if used as part of an integrated campaign, print is proving to be a powerful medium that will reach your target audience with maximum impact.