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Marketing Resource Blog

Print Still Has Its Place

Lee Watson - Monday, December 09, 2013

Not as an alternative to digital, but as a partner

Just as fuel injection engines require both air and fuel to operate properly, so do marketing programs need the right mix of elements to fire on all cylinders. Working in partnership, digital and print can create the most productive and profitable outcomes.

Not everyone agrees. In July, a www.theonion.com article declared, “Print Dead At 1,803…Sources close to print, the method of applying ink to paper in order to convey information to a mass audience, have confirmed that the declining medium passed away early Thursday morning… The influential means of communication was 1,803.”

And HubSpot, the inbound marketing software platform company that promotes all things digital, doesn’t seem partial to print. A recent article on Targetmarketingmag.com notes, “4 Direct Mail Truths HubSpot Got Wrong…HubSpot misses the mark when critiquing direct mail… I have long admired the people at HubSpot for their online marketing acumen…But their recent analysis of direct mail—‘6 Horrific Practices of Direct Mail’—displays a stunning ignorance of what works and what doesn’t work in direct mail…To begin with, they go down the slippery slope of criticizing marketing without knowing what the results of those marketing campaigns are.”

These two reports typify the opinions of many who believe that if it isn’t digital, it isn’t marketing.

The International News Media Association (INMA) in Australia disputes this digital “first, always and only” orientation, pointing out in a real estate-oriented August article , “Print is not dead – it just has some company…New research into real estate advertising shows print still has its place – not as an alternative to digital, but as a partner…I’m sick to death of reading about the death of print—with stories written like suicide notes…”

Direct mail in particular is enjoying newfound popularity. A spring 2013 Denver Business Journal article points out, “Mark Twain once said, ‘The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.’ This quote also seems to apply to incessant reports about the demise of print as a communications tool…There are various reasons for its resurgence. A primary one is that print no longer is the primary communications medium, so it’s new and fresh again because it stands out from the crowd.”

The report adds that direct mail particularly is benefitting from this resurgence: “While many people are weary and wary of email pitches, enewsletters and other digital marketing, they’ll pay attention to well-done print pieces (just the opposite of what occurred when direct mail glutted everyone’s mailbox years ago). Another reason for print’s resurgence actually ties to the digital world, in the form of digital printing. Digital printing has made creating print pieces less expensive and more flexible.”

What does this mean for marketers seeking the right messaging platforms? View all marketing tools—digital and print chief among them—as part of a toolkit. Make decisions based on formulating the best mix of tools to meet strategic objectives. In some cases, this can be a mix of eblasts, direct mail, social networking support and mobile presence—perhaps coupled with a push for editorial media exposure. Other challenges may truly mandate an all-digital campaign; conversely, an all-print platform may prove the most impactful in select situations.

We stand ready to help you make the best strategic and tactical choices from what can sometimes seem like a dizzying array of options. By tuning out the noise around what’s trendy versus time-tested, it’s easier to get to the heart of the matter:

  • What has the best chance of success?
  • How does this fit within your budget comfort zone?
  • What metrics define success?
  • How do you measure and analyze results?

When you’re ready to start the discussion, email or call me:
Lee@mailmasters.net, 303-607-9424.

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