Print is dead? Not according to these marketing experts

In this digital age, we’re constantly bombarded with online advertising and messaging – you can’t even log onto your email or social networks these days without being inundated with special deals, sponsored posts and ‘act now’ offers.

As a business owner, it’s hard to compete and find your niche amid so many messages, particularly when less than $50 can get most businesses an online ad on any half-decent website. But there’s still one tried and true marketing and advertising option that can give your business the edge over the competition; print.

Sure, there are plenty of naysayers bemoaning that print is dead,. But it’s actually a $7.5 billion industry, employing more than 241,000 Australians. If you do your research to find the right target market for your brand, it can produce a strong ROI.

Importantly, it’s the perfect antidote to consumers’ digital fatigue. A 2017 Toluna consumer survey reveals that 66% of Australians agree that it’s important to switch off from the digital world and enjoy books and magazines.

What is a print campaign?

A print marketing campaign doesn’t have to mean a massive investment in full-page ads in glossy magazines; it can include direct mailouts, brochures, pamphlets, catalogues, stickers, merchandise … anything you can print on.

And it works. Roy Morgan research has shown that print media drives more consumers to websites than any other media channel.

A campaign titled The Value of Print and Paper, conducted by not-for-profit industry initiative Two Sides Australia (TSA), has shown that while any advertising and marketing campaign should feature a healthy mix of digital and traditional media, research consistently points to print as being the channel with the greatest return on investment.

TSA Limited executive director Kellie Northwood says there’s no doubt that print plays a critical role in the marketing mix.

“Brands love print because it remains a trusted media channel that dominates in terms of reach and ability to deliver effective and targeted messages to consumers,” she says.

“A recent survey by MarketingSherpa found 76% of internet users trust the ads (that arrive) via their letterbox, compared to just 25% who trust digital pop-up ads. Letterbox marketing dominates audience reach at 20.1 million Australians every week.”

Managing director of creative agency 121 Creative Geebung and owner of Kwik Kopy Geebung in Queensland, A.J Hightower, agrees that print isn’t dead – the demand for it has simply changed.

“I used to hear [that print is dead] five years ago; I hear it a lot less these days,” he says.

“While some traditional print items have been taken over by digital, many have not. Areas such as education and training have found that people retain a lot more information that was read in books and manuals, over a screen.

“The demand on print has shifted to fast turnarounds, smaller but more personalised products, and working with other media channels [like digital] for integrated campaigns,” he says.

Big brands value print marketing

Northwood says the real estate market and brands including Coles, Woolworths, Chemist Warehouse and Myer incorporate print into their marketing plans as it is trusted, accessible and memorable.

“Retailers spend $2.7 billion on commercial print each year, they understand what happens when they drop print from their sales schedule,” she says.

“When Myer produced their 2016 Giftorium Christmas catalogue and personalised it to each loyal Myer One customer, their sales increased by 3.4%, showing the impact that this channel has to offer. Chemist Warehouse are strong retail performers working all print opportunities from tabloid catalogues, to informative House of Wellness newspaper inserts and seasonal books – they communicate across all levels to their customer base.”

Research leads to success

As with any successful marketing campaign, you’ll need to research your target demographic and their habits carefully.

While you might think traditional print marketing would resonate most with those over 30, you can still reach the “cool kids” through print. Australian Catalogue Association research shows that 60% of Australians aged over 14 have read a catalogue within the last seven days while a massive 77% of the population have engaged with a printed catalogue in the last month.

“Print marketing still feels warmer and more personal, perhaps because it’s a physical item and seems less intrusive than a Facebook ad [for example],” Hightower says.

“Most people will pause and look at a printed leaflet over an email. There are also some segments [of the community] that prefer and respond much higher to printed marketing [such as seniors].

“Most successful campaigns utilise both digital and print to achieve maximum results.”

Kwik Kopy

Kwik Kopy have been serving the Australian SME community for 35 years, providing reliable business printing, creative graphic design and innovative online solutions.

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