Since the printing profession became mechanised with the Gutenberg Press we have seen print flourish for hundreds of years. Then came radio and I’ll bet that was meant to kill print. Then TV came and that should have killed print and radio.
Then came the internet, then email, SEO, PPC, social media, mobile marketing... All of them were meant to kill off print, radio and TV...
I think this is very short sighted.
And if you really dig into the data you’ll find, despite all the hoopla, print and especially direct mail are becoming more and more important in marketing. Clutter is the enemy of the entrepreneur and business owners afterall. You only have to look at how cluttered your own inbox is to see that.
Many ‘online’ businesses are making extensive use of printed materials in their marketing to drive people to their websites.
Many ‘ecommerce’ style businesses are almost dependent on printed marketing materials to remain afloat or within a mile of their current sizes. Ecommerce giants including Overstock.com, 1-800-Flowers, Nutrisystems, Costal Contacts and Pet Med Express are all heavily dependent on offline media for both new customer acquisition and marketing to existing customers.
Even Google is using direct mail to sell things like Adwords and its Google Places services.
Boardroom Reports spent $22 million on postage for direct mail last year (plus their printing costs). Why? Because it generated them a huge return on investment. Do you believe if they could have gotten the same sales using it with email, social media, websites and other free media they would have done it? In a heartbeat they would have. But they are realists... They need print based marketing.
While everyone is telling you that offline is dead, the truth is that it is anything but.
The future for business lies in an intelligent use of both online and offline media. Print will continue to play a part, especially considering university studies have shown that “Tangible Materials such as direct-mail trigger a much deeper level of emotional processing... ...Than electronic media.”
That means that as long as we are human, print marketing will remain effective. And if the trends today continue, then it will be a critical part of successful marketing for a long time to come.
The other question that you must ask yourself is “Where is my customer or client?” Our population is ageing, and whilst many of them have embraced technology to a degree, many of them aren’t very savvy at it... and most of them don’t trust online. So how much money are you leaving on the table by not engaging in print based marketing?
And they’re not the only ones who respond best to direct mail. Just before we put this newsletter to print I found an article in Epsilon Magazine that said that 18-34 year olds prefer direct mail to electronic mail.
So make sure you’re not leaving out a most crucial ingredient in your marketing mix.
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