Print media. Why print still has longevity?

Is print really dead?

Is print really dead?

Recently I wrote about how print fits comfortably into the media mix.

Many businesses are under the illusion that print is a dying media and that they should be engaging with customers on social media platforms for their promotional marketing.

There is some truth to this but the consumer still trusts and believes in print. The reality is that the consumer feels comforted by print because there is the trust element in a leaflet or a brochure to look at before making that all important purchasing decision, buying a car or making a monetary investment.

If newspapers are losing their status as a primary medium for reading the news then why has Warren Buffett, owner of 60 newspaper titles and Jeff Bezos founder of Amazon who recently acquired The Washington Post buying traditional media?

The answer I believe is simple the consumer likes to read the printed word. They prefer to read the news from their daily newspaper or, if evaluating a product they are considering purchasing to read from the brochure or leaflet.

Not everyone has the desire to read the news online on a computer. There is something gratifying about buying your favourite newspaper and reading it at selected times during the day during your commute or last thing before turning the lights out.

With print there is a start and an end, a newspaper has a front and back page, a printed direct mail piece will have a unique selling point or offer with a distinct call to action if produced correctly, the web has no end or beginning but is a continuum encouraging you to click through from one article to another related article, the reader flirts with the web but a newspaper or promotional leaflet is more tactile, more implicit because it is paper based.

A simple illustration of this is the company newsletter which exemplifies the importance of communicating internal issues with its employees, it is a tangible document and more appealing than an e-newsletter.

Print media has a certain cachet it adds credibility to a specific event or situation more so than the online version.

The internet has changed publishing business models and people continue to read magazines and newspapers for the gratification of reading it in print.

There is a revolution taking place in the print world but with careful strategic marketing and cross media personalisation print is the catalyst that engages the audience offline and then takes the audience online through social platforms.

The key is content and design, the adage that content is king does ring true, people want to read good quality relevant content but not at the expense of having their inboxes cluttered to over filling point.

Content that is devised by marketers who haven’t personalised the content to suit their targeted audience.

The power of social media can not be underestimated when compared to the printed word.

Attending a wedding a couple of years ago, on line newsI was the first to read on twitter that Amy Winehouse had died. This information quickly spread as I shared the news with the guests at the table.

News items mean more when in the printed form because print adds gravitas rather than reading it in less than 140 characters. It is real, more passe than seeing images on instagram or facebook. What makes social media unique is its virality, when a news item breaks it goes viral but it might take eight hours to see that news item in print.

Online news is fast and convenient but print still has its advantages and has its place in our digital world.

Look at the development of 3D printing, established this decade and used extensively by motor and manufacturing industries.

Offices still create a paper flow, you need to file paper (if you don’t use a document scanning system) A4 files digitally printed with your company logo are a perfect example of the use of print.

Consumers like to flick through a brochure or promotional leaflet before making that all important buying decision and the purchaser has a higher chance of being influenced by promotional material.

How can the physical and digital world meet when engaging with potential buyers?

The answer is to use both mediums to affect audience participation.

A direct mail marketing piece can be the first touch point for audience engagement from off line to an online medium.

Using digital media to complement print campaigns ensures that those who view online and offline receive targeted campaigns relevant to them.

Print will continue to have its place in the media universe.

I personally won’t believe print is dead until I see it in writing! (Anon)

Is print dead or does it form part of the bigger picture when used with social media?

Is or should print be the first touch point when engaging with customers?

Let me know what you think?

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