The transformation of print in a multi-channel world

That was the theme of a conference I attended in London last week.

Is print finished? Print or digital? Do we really need to choose?

It is transforming and is a crucial element of the digital media world we live in.

Print is the first touchpoint for the recipient to touch, feel, read and even smell before they join you in the digital world.

Surprisingly of the eleven speakers not one tried to bury print.

I was expecting at least one speaker to talk about the demise of print but whilst everyone in the audience and speakers agreed that print has declined in the newspaper sector, the opposite is happening in magazines, direct mail and print in general.

In 2015 £13.9 billion was spent on print, in 2010 it was 14 billion so print is holding its own over probably one of the most difficult economic periods we’ve experienced in the last thirty years.

print in a multi-channel worldPrint continues to adapt and so are the manufacturers of print who recognise the need to provide a digital and physical version for people to consume content.

Producers of content need to be aware that it is the content that matters and not necessarily the medium it is consumed on.

Producing content means we really do need to think about where our audience is, are they  solely mobile and internet based or do they like to receive the written word.

Measuring consumer engagement in other words, how long they spend reading the content is more relevant than where they actually read it whether it is print, digital, web or mobile.

Print is not necessarily better than digital it is simply another way of consuming information and is demographic dependent.

Deloitte undertook a survey and discovered that while we may qr code on smartphone screenperceive that books are on the decline the reverse was true 8% were in favour of physical books rather than E-books.

Whilst a tablet offers an immediate reader experience, print is a slow burner.

One of the main points to come out of the conference was the statistics demonstrating people’s desire to slow down.

Reading content on a phone or tablet is quick and responsive it also has distractions that can leave you feeling anxious and stressed.

Where print means you ‘make time’, tablets or smartphones is about ‘fill time’ and advertising messages tend not be be remembered because the mobile experience is faster and more stressful as we are constantly distracted.

Whether content is read on a tablet or in print the emotional reactions to the content tended to be similar but it is the actual content that determines how and where we consume it.

multichannelPlatform VS content drives what is read, making it snackable or bite sized in a digital format makes it easier to digest.  With print we find it easier to read more and for longer.

Digital technologies allow a brand to use more personal touch points to engage with the audience and in a ME world it is about building relationships making it personalised, targeted and individual.

Coke’s branded bottle campaign of 2014 was a great example of how by personalising individual bottles with christian names led to a 7% increase in consumption, 2.1% increase in sales and 18.3 million impressions.

Coke’s marketing goal was to engage with a younger audience and they achieved this by making it personal and individual.

The physical printing of names on the bottle created greater engagement, interaction and differentiation.

Digital brands notably Google, Net-A-Porter, Apple, Facebook, Linkedin and Airbnb are some of the large brands combining print with their digital marketing.

And whilst the above have been busy telling brands that the best way to reach consumers is through digital communications, they have learn’t that they too cannot do without print advertising to connect with audiences.

Google, in 2013 spent £5m on outdoor advertising and £3.5m on press ads, likewise LinkedIn created a direct mail pack in 2014 to announce it had reached 15 million UK subscribers and to promote the launch of its student hub after it emerged that students were one of its fastest growing groups.multichannel services

Print is still meaningful, emotional and enhances the reading experience we spent £1.3 bn in 2014 on magazine media and 73% of the adult population subscribe to a monthly magazine, digital or in paper format.

Leading magazine brands are writing their exclusives in print and then delivering snippets of information via social media. Vogue magazine has an estimated viewing time online of 9.02 minutes but with an average 50 minute per issue readership.

Microsoft concluded from research that the changing nature of attention has now decreased from 10 to 8 seconds on a mobile device translated that means if the advert is irrelevant or doesn’t hit the spot then the reader is off.

It’s not about digital or paper it is about both and print along with digital is one of the many platforms available to get your message out there.

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