There is no doubt that marketing has gone digital. The shift was quick and sweeping. From online catalogues to Web ads, print advertising is a thing of the past, right? Not quite.
In fact, the mantra of "print is dead" is pretty far off, especially when it comes to marketing. Recent studies have shown that not only does print marketing connect better with readers, it also has a considerably higher interaction rate than digital marketing.
Print marketing connects to readers better in terms of trust, emotion and personalization
When people come in contact with content that stimulates emotion, those materials tend to have a more lasting effect. In a recent study by neuroscience researchers at Temple University on behalf of the United States Postal Service, researchers found that a week after contact with both physical and digital ads, participants showed greater emotional response to print advertisements. In addition, these same print ads triggered more activity in the brain, particularly in areas related to value and desire. For marketers, this means putting an emphasis on evoking desire and emotion in the target audience can yield big results.
The connection between print marketing and readers does not end with emotion. As reported on by Business 2 Community, a 2013 study from the Direct Marketing Association concluded that 56 percent of customers considered print marketing to be the most trusted source.
Print marketing also offers an opportunity for effective personalization, by way of using peoples' names on materials. While email marketing can also address individuals by name, MarketingProf's contributor Vladimir Gendelman reported that consumers recognize personalized print media takes more effort than its digital equivalent. A piece of direct mail addressed individually to a potential customer goes further than one might think. A recent study conducted by the Rochester Institute of Technology found that personalized print marketing efforts result in a higher return on investment.
Essentially, print marketing allows for greater ROI when personalized, is better trusted by consumers and elicits more emotional connection to a product. What more could a business ask for?
Mailed advertisements retain a longer life-span and more consumer attention than digital ads
Most people would be surprised to hear that snail mail captures consumers' attention but the numbers don't lie. The USPS conducted research that found people spend an average of 30 minutes reading through their mail.The study noted that this level of time-commitment suggests print marketing better grabs the full attention of consumers whereas digital media may fall short.
People also act much more immediately on mail compared to email marketing. As reported by TheDrum, a study from the Direct Marketing Association found that 79 percent of consumers act directly on mailed advertisements compared to only 45 percent taking immediate action for emails.
The Takeaway: Don't rule out print marketing or its benefits
The best way to penetrate any market is to be original, and in the digital era turning to print is ironically a unique idea. Fortunately for any company seeking this method, the use of print advertisements isn't a huge risk. Direct mail marketing may have been deemed a thing of the past by some, but the return on print marketing investment is impressive in a handful of key areas, qualifying it as a highly effective strategy for any business.