Advertisers have shifted most of their focus to digital formats due to the sheer number of potential audience members who frequently use the Internet. But, as it turns out, statistics do not necessarily support the notion that online-only marketing is more effective than traditional print; rather, surveys show that consumers are more prone to be affected by an advertisement in a physical form. The consensus among industry experts appears to favor multi-platform marketing that encompasses more than just a single channel of media. 

The "print is dead" crowd has been silenced
A Statista study showed that in 2014, U.S. companies spent a total of $44.5 billion on direct mail marketing alone, a figure that has held steady since 2009. Dying industry, indeed. 

As epitaphs for the allegedly moribund world of print abounded in the midst of the cultural shift toward online living, the industry attempted to maintain a steady presence. As e-reader sales skyrocketed and consumption of traditional media plummeted, printers struggled to remain competitive. But, as statistics show, that period of tepidity appears to have come to a close. In addition to the large spending sums by companies, consumers have realized they have an inclination to be more appreciative of print products than their digital counterparts. 

Compu-Mail reported that 92 percent of young shoppers preferred direct mail marketing when making buying decisions, while 56 percent of all consumers found print to be the most trustworthy medium. In addition, 70 percent of Americans agreed that mail is more personal than the Internet. Establishing a sense of intimacy and connection with potential clients is a crucial component to effective marketing, and people are more engrossed when holding something physical in their hands, as opposed to viewing it on a screen. 

The further this point, AlphaGraphics noted that target audiences are highly likely to read your print materials – 79 percent of households indicated they read, or at least scanned, direct mail ads. This form of marketing also has a high ROI, with a stated ratio of 13-to-1. U.S. advertisers spend an average of $167 per person on direct mail campaigns, Compu-Mail said, and receive a return on goods sold of $2,095. Print marketing also has lasting power, according to the source: 48 percent of people keep advertisements for future reference. 

The future of marketing: Multichannel initiatives
So, how can marketers continue to evolve and remain competitive in an increasingly digital-centric climate? ClickZ suggested that the future of the field will be largely multimedia. Television still controls the market, accounting for 42 percent of the share, but digital and print are ranked second and third, respectively. The source mused that while e-marketing is supposed to be taking over traditional formats, a recent trend has actually seen members of the industry engaging in the older practices as a way to stand out from the masses, which are focusing on their online campaigns. 

A statistic from AlphaGraphics reinforced this idea, citing that direct mail response rates have increased by 14 percent since 2004, and that 44 percent of recipients visit a company's website after reading its print content. Some businesses appear to be recognizing the potential of using a variety of platforms to send the same message, and this will likely lead to higher levels of profitability for them. 

Despite the cloud of doubt that has hung over the print industry since the dawn of the online age, its impact in the marketing sector has not diminished in any tangible or measurable way. On the contrary, companies are starting to understand the value it can add to advertising initiatives, and some have begun to employ various media to maximize the potential of their ads.