With the increase in online sites, the social sites and other forms of media, the traditional elements of marketing (print, radio and TV), have been declining for the last 4 years. In 2011 it seems one of them, print specifically, is rebounding. The printing industry is predicting sales to increase 2% – 3% over 2010, the first increase since 2007, according to the NAPL. This is interesting since so many magazines and other printed materials have opted for online versions of their offering. What could be driving this surge in interest? I have a few theories I will share here:
Printed materials are still great branding tools. Nothing makes a brand more recognized than a beautiful ad in a glossy format. A well-designed ad is an engaging experience for readers. And by the way, according to a recent MRI/Next Step poll, 55 percent of teens say they pay a lot of attention to print ads.
Print sways trendsetters. “Influentials” (those who sway other consumers) are themselves influenced by print. Check out this influence ranking, from the MRI Survey of the American Consumer: Magazines: 61%, In-store: 58%, TV: 55%, Newspaper: 53%,Radio: 44%, Free samples: 39%and E-mail: 26%.
It’s Survival of the fittest once more. Most of you have noticed we receive fewer magazines and printed newsletters, thanks to the online world. What I seem to be doing is paying more attention to those I do get, and to some extent, patronizing the advertisers, more than I have in the past. I do not believe I am alone here.
Print supports all your other marketing platforms. According to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, 47.2 percent of shoppers are most likely to start an online search after viewing a magazine advertisement. 75 percent of nextSTEPmag.com users type in the URL directly, which they likely got from reading the magazine.
Companies are focusing on Customer Retention programs. Customer retention was the most important goal for marketers when it came to content marketing outside of basic brand awareness. There is no argument that it is easier and cheaper to keep an existing customer that it is to get a new one. As the need to protect the customer base becomes greater, you will see a surge in mailings, predominately postcards and mentions in newsletters.
Taking advantage of technology. Have you seen the use of QR codes in print advertising lately? It is hard to open up a magazine, postcard or mailer without seeing at least one advertiser using them in their printed materials. A QR code is the squiggly lined block that contains a hidden message. When I first saw them, it took me back to the days of Highlights and MAD Magazine, where there was always some sort of picture with hidden content. I tried to see the hidden image, but quickly learned these images needed to be viewed with a smartphone and QR code reader. The use of QR codes makes this piece of print advertising more interactive, which can engage the reader with your brand. Now that they are editable, you can create long term campaigns around printed materials, making their shelf life much longer. An added bonus is that print can be passed along, either in its original form, or copy.
So, print isn’t dead, but it may have been dead to you and your business. We recommend you consider putting print back into you marketing mix, especially if the client you seek is receptive to this marketing medium. We hope you find this helpful as we do our best to help you Market Naturally.