Why print still matters: Digital vs. print marketing

Small business owners are continually faced with the battle of digital marketing vs. print. Advertising budgets are frequently constrained and multiple mediums can make it difficult to choose which one is best for your needs.

However effective marketing involves more than merely finding a way to reach your customers. It’s also driven by listening to them and hearing what they want and how they wish to be contacted.

In fact, 45% of Australians prefer to receive print marketing materials, such as catalogues and flyers, via mail. That’s a figure that may be alarming to many in today’s tech-driven world.

The evolution of digital marketing has made business owners question whether print marketing is still a valuable medium.

There are multiple reasons that prove online advertising can be a better choice. Digital marketing is vital for successful businesses today. But direct mail, flyer printing and other printed materials are still necessary for cutting through the marketing clutter.

Here’s the comparisons on both.

Digital Marketing

Content marketing, social media, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and email marketing have valuable roles to play in connecting with and reaching your audience.

Some benefits of online marketing include:

  • Broader reach: Local and international audiences can be targeted. Campaigns may also be specifically targeted to consumer’s demographics.
  • Interaction fuels the fire: Social media networks encourage interaction to drive better results.
  • Viral content: Marketing messages are shared quickly, increasing the chances of content going viral.
  • Brand development: Well-maintained websites optimised for SEO, personalised email marketing and using social media channels and tailored content are cost-effective means to developing your brand. They also add value to your target audience and boost lead generation opportunities.  

As beneficial and important as digital marketing is though, there are still ways print marketing can take the lead.  

If you were to check your Inbox, for example, how many emails do you delete unopened? Now, compare that to the dwindling number of flyers, invites or letters dropped into your household’s mailbox.

Print Marketing isn’t on the Decline Anymore

For years, we’ve been told print marketing is dying. But that’s not the case.

According to Content Marketing Institute, the evolution of digital marketing mediums doesn’t kill off these channels. It simply makes us look at them differently, because they are used differently by consumers.

By 2020, it’s predicted printed media will be dead. But if you Google ‘the death of TV’, you’ll see many articles predicting the end of television too, yet it still remains a strong medium.

Global research agency Millward Brown found that physical media leaves a deeper footprint on the brain than digital equivalents. As small business owners and marketers, we’re urged to rethink print.

So, what are the benefits of print marketing?

Cost-Effective and Timely

Although accumulating and maintaining an email list may be easier and less expensive than mail outs, print media is a cost-effective marketing solution.

Small business owners can send printed materials in smaller quantities as a test. Once determined a success, increase the number to spread the word to your audience.

Australian Post research shows that 82% of people check their letterbox daily, making the medium a timely benefit.

Grabs Your Attention

Instead of your marketing message ending up in an overfilled Inbox or junk mail folder, printed materials can set your event or services apart.  

Because there’s less mail being delivered to your physical mailbox, more attention is paid to each piece received.

Direct mail and printed marketing materials demand attention. In fact, 92% of it is opened. When a potential customer takes your business materials inside their home, they’re likely to take the time to read them in a relaxed environment which encourages them to really absorb your message.

Creates a Tangible Product

Tangible products are powerful.

When consumers have something physical to hold, all their senses are actively engaged. This can create more persuasive weight than digital content.

People are far more likely to retain something tangible too. Materials are stored later for reference, making it a highly responsive form of communication to get consumers to act.

Personalised Approach

The enduring appeal of flyer printing still excites people.

Tailored printed postcards or networking and event invites hold more meaning than an email or Facebook invite because it’s tangible and personalised.  Plus, you can stick them on the fridge for future reference.

Bigger Branding Opportunities

Digital and print marketing should work in tandem to create an effective and engaging campaign.

For example, social media can be used to complement print advertising and vice versa.

Flyer printing and other printed materials offer a sense of credibility of your brand’s identity. And bridging the gap between the two mediums is necessary. The continued need for business cards today is a prime example of this.

Digital marketing may now be the norm. Yet smart brands will combine the benefits of both worlds to create bigger branding opportunities.

Whether it be postcards, dimensional mail, service price lists or mail drop restaurant menus – these offer engaging marketing solutions for small businesses.

Social media and digital content are all part of today’s marketing mix. But consumers crave something different, too. As print marketing continues to see its rebirth, what was once old suddenly becomes ‘new’ again.

Just like those people that still prefer to own CDs or vinyl, rather than having an online music library. Or avid readers who aren’t willing to exchange their collection of books for an eBook reader, print marketing will always be valuable.

About the author:

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who recommends G Force Printing – a Perth based printing company with more than 20 years’ experience specialising in design and print services to make your business brand stand out from its competitors. You can catch her on Google+.

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