I am a millennial. I watch movies on my laptop, “Google” things I want to know more about and check my Instagram way too many times in a day. I use my phone to keep in touch with my family and friends who live in different parts of the world and I use Google Maps almost every day as I try to navigate the city of Dallas on my own.
Besides the many books I can’t seem to let go of to fully embrace the Kindle app on my phone, there is very little print in my life. And I don’t think I am alone in this.
Since the invention of the printing press in the 1440s, print has changed the way people communicate and has created opportunities for marketers to have a bigger reach. Then came the start of the digital revolution around the 1960s, which eventually led to where we are today – a place where digital reigns and digital marketing is the norm. While digital’s distant cousin (print) is still alive, it is obviously no longer the go-to when it comes to marketing.
Print Has Its Perks
Yet, in a world that is saturated with digital marketing, print marketing has its perks and can play an important role in helping companies stand out.
Perk #1: Print is in.
Print that is well designed, contains relevant content as well as beautiful visuals is “in” with millennials. Coming across a print like this, even if it is an advertisement, makes me stop and study it. I think this is true for many millennials because it is not something we come across often. And if, after taking time to study it, there is no conversion, we may end up taking the print home to frame. Yes, you read that right. I know that might sound funny, but it’s true. Besides doing it myself, I’ve known a few millennials who have framed an ad or two because of its design. Also, those who later see the framed print will ask about it – which is free advertisement for you and more than likely a future Google search of your company.
Perk #2: Print is memorable.
A 2009 case study by Millward Brown and a 2012 case study by USPS both show that print engages the senses in a way that digital does not. When our brain processes physical material, the parts of the brain associated with sight, emotions and spatial awareness are activated. This means that long after someone reads a printed ad, they will be able to recall (and emotionally respond to) what they read better than if they read a digital ad. And since people do not usually respond to an advertisement until later, according to USPS, making sure people remember your advertisement is pretty important.
Perk #3: Print increases trust.
A survey by Marketing Sherpa shows that 82 percent of Americans trust print ads over any other medium. By the way, following tv ads, direct mail ads came in at a close 76 percent. While there doesn’t seem to be a lot of evidence as to why this is, I would say that printed ads are so few and far between (unlike the way too many intrusive digital ads we are exposed to each day), that when I see one, I am aware that someone real took the time to create it for something real. And if it is clearly and beautifully communicated, I am likely to trust it even more.
Perk #4: Print helps you stand out.
Print helps you stand out among your competitors. According to a UK survey, the combination of email and direct mail marketing create more “brand awareness”, “increased ROI” and “customer experience”. Because print marketing is so rare nowadays, strategically combining beautiful print marketing with your digital marketing will not only set you apart, but will communicate that your brand is willing to take that extra step to be personal, practical and stunning.
So, for those of you debating whether you should nix the print for your business, please don’t. Instead, make it personal, practical and stunning, and then print away. Most millennials will appreciate it and so will your company.