You've heard it a million times: Using too much paper hurts the environment. And in a world that is becoming increasingly focused on sustainable sources of energy and reducing our carbon footprint, the last thing businesses want to do is demonstrate that they are anti-"go green" initiatives.
Sure, this likely isn't the main or only reason why some print or paper distributors are finding it challenging to sell their products and services. The truth is that, unfortunately, there is a common belief that the future is in digital. Some salespeople have chosen to work in other fields and others are adjusting business models to focus more on Web-based marketing and media. However, it's the printing companies that are able to move past false assumptions and misguided information that are actually able to capitalize on the advantageous opportunities others in the market are missing out on.
And one of the concepts that is becoming increasingly important for print distributors, as well as their potential customers, to acknowledge is the negative impact using paper can – or, rather, can't – cause. Contrary to what most people may believe, paper is actually good for you. Many firms across all industries still rely on business documents, forms and other paper-based products to carry out daily functions and transactions. Of course, it would serve an organization well to have access to the materials and items needed to complete a sale or process an order. But, putting aside this fact, there are still an abundance of reasons why printed materials can be beneficial in both the short and long term.
It facilitates better engagement and learning
Studies have found that many different groups of people actually prefer paper over its digital counterpart. And these "people" are not just book lovers or those who consider themselves to be technologically-challenged. It's not older generations stuck in their "old ways" and habits, refusing to accept that times are changing and the world is shifting toward mobile devices and electronic screens. In fact, many of the pro-paper users studies identified belonged to younger age groups – those who probably know more about technology than the average person jabbering on about how the paper industry is as good as dead. Clearly if even people who grew up in the digital era and are accustomed to using electronic devices are drawn to paper and print media, there must be a reason.
A handful of such research was recently highlighted by Tal Gross in a USA Today article. He explained that scientists have discovered that students perform better in academics when using paper versus digital materials and that the printed information allows them to learn, engage and remember more. The author also pointed out that, while some argue that paper is bad for the planet and it would be better to get rid of it, if we learn better with it, it certainly wouldn't be beneficial to us as individuals (or our intelligence) to do so. Does this mean denying that printing paper can't have a negative impact on the environment? Of course not. But, Gross suggested, the solution isn't to eliminate it altogether but, rather, to be selective about which environments and applications to use paper for and which to use digital.
For those who are concerned about the planet, it is important to note that there are now forests dedicated to the renewable process of paper production. In addition, there are plenty of ways to make sure paper is being used in an eco-friendly manner.
Paper-based reading uses different brain activity
According to Public Radio International, neuroscientists have discovered that different parts of the brain are used when reading paper than for digital material. It was explained when dealing with printed pages, the mind's processing is more stimulated. In a world that is becoming dominated by mobile devices and screens, it is important and healthy to make sure we are exercising different parts of our brains. Plus, taking a break from the computer, e-reader or smartphone certainly wouldn't hurt our eyes.
And these people might actually be onto something, because there are many ways in which paper is good for you. Some of them are listed below – and would serve print distributors well to fully understand these concepts in their efforts to reach potential customers and reinforce the argument of why the paper media is still important.
It can facilitate more control and security
Every week there seems to be another high-profile data breach or cyberattack impacting a major organization. The Internet of Things has put businesses, as well as their sensitive data, assets and information, at increased risk of security disruptions and threat vulnerabilities. This is one of the reasons why it is wise for some companies to keep confidential and financial-related items on printed products rather than computer networks and highly connected and accessible platforms. In addition, paper documents and transactional forms can be further safeguarded by having security features embedded in them that prevent counterfeiting and fraudulent behavior.
In their efforts to expand client list, drive revenue and improve marketing efforts, print distributors may sometimes find it difficult to dispel all the arguments for why digital media and systems are becoming increasingly important. However, the success of selling paper products and print services isn't about debating the viability of the market or comparing it to other tech sectors. It is about honing in and highlighting the wide range of benefits that the printing industry can provide companies with. And there are certainly plenty to choose from.