Why Print?

By Bob Baldridge August 31, 2020 print

Over the last several decades, we’ve watched marketing channels come in and out of vogue. Most recently, online advertising has been king with $129 billion spent in the U.S. on digital ads in 2019, but the Internet isn’t the only way to get the word out.  

Remember print?

Though it's sometimes overlooked in the digital age, print marketing is a highly effective way to reach your audience and get an impressive return on investment (ROI). Not only is direct mail alive and kicking — in fact, 41% of Americans actively look forward to getting their mail every day, and the majority of people add that they like getting mail from brands about new products — but print collateral like brochures, business cards, and sales sheets play a crucial role in getting the word out, too. Studies have shown it takes 5-7 impressions for someone to remember a brand, but you can decrease that number by giving them a high-quality, physical reminder.

So while many companies have gone digital with some portion of their marketing budgets, email advertising and pay-per-click campaigns can benefit from the complementary power of print to get the most from your marketing dollars.

Here are four reasons why your omnichannel marketing plan should definitely include print.

People Trust Print More Than Other Mediums
56% of all consumers trust print marketing more than any other advertising method. There are likely various reasons for this, one of them being the prevalence of pop-up ads online. They’re annoying, and beyond that, they often pop up with offers of low-value or irrelevant online content, which instantly diminishes trust. Consumers are rightly worried about their online information being tracked by ill-intentioned companies, and many have come to associate pop-up and poor-quality ads with data privacy issues. 

Print, from postcards to paper menus, is seen as less intrusive and more helpful, which can position your company as more credible. You’re presented in a way that allows the user to read at their convenience, not pop up and interrupt them. 

Print Communications Are Easier to Recall
The Internet is a very noisy place. It’s estimated that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 brands each day, with the majority of those encounters being online. Taking the conversation offline with print means there are fewer distractions to contend with. Plus, your audience is literally interacting with your content in a physical way. 

The tactile nature of print leads to a greater attention capacity, meaning that the information that the reader is exposed to will be easier to recall in the future. This is because reading print more effectively stimulates brain activity — studies have shown that reading print material uses 21% less cognitive effort than reading new media does. And according to another study, consumers were 70% more likely to recall your brand after seeing it in print, as opposed to a digital ad.

Print Sticks Around Longer
Digital ads are great because you can often see immediate results, whereas print campaigns or printed marketing materials might take longer to show a return. But the flip side is also true: print has a much longer shelf life. Every year, the average American household receives 454 pieces of marketing mail, and that mail is kept in a household for 17 days on average, whereas an email might be immediately deleted after reading it once — if it’s even opened at all. 

And while an email might only get to one person, direct mail, flyers, and door hangers can be sent to whole households — getting more eyes on your message for a much longer time.  

Simply Put, Print Gets Results
Print helps to build trust and has the benefits of being easier to recall and sticking around longer, but at the end of the day, it’s all about results — and print gets results. 

The ROI on direct mail is easy to quantify. Open rates for direct mail campaigns can be as high as 90% whereas emails only get opened an average of 20% to 30% on the high end. And the response rate for direct mail campaigns is higher than mobile, social, email, and display ads, meaning people are converting. Direct mail campaigns have been shown to generate purchases five times larger than email campaigns, and 62% of consumers who responded to direct mail in the past three months made a purchase. 

The ROI on print collateral has historically been harder to measure, but this is where an omnichannel approach can make all the difference. Combine the power of your print and digital channels by using landing pages, QR codes, or even personalized URLs (pURLs) to track engagement on each piece you print. Armed with data on what actually works for you, you’ll be able to continually optimize your print marketing over time. 

Why Print? Why Not? 
There’s a reason online advertising is so popular. It’s a way to reach audiences quickly, and experimenting with constantly evolving targeting technologies is enticing to marketers. But there’s no doubt about it: print is here to stay. In fact, in recent years, it’s seeing a resurgence as brands try and stand out from the noise and get more creative with their designs. 

By strategically using print marketing in your media mix, you can cut through the clutter with comprehensive campaigns that reach and resonate with the right consumers — raising brand awareness and delivering for your bottom line. 

Here at Varispark, we’re print marketing experts. Send us a message so we can talk about your needs and offer up our recommendations.