Digital marketing gets a lot of attention today, but print marketing is still highly effective. There are some situations where print marketing is inexpensive, effective, and arguably superior to any form of digital marketing – but what are these situations and how do you take advantage of them?
Print vs. Digital Marketing
According to PrintingCenterUSA, print marketing has historically been a powerful and influential marketing choice, for small businesses, large corporations, and everything in between. But these days, digital marketing tends to get all the glamor. There are some understandable reasons for this; with digital marketing, you can literally reach millions of people without spending a fortune to do it, and thanks to modern technology, you can tightly control who sees and interacts with your marketing and advertising materials.
Even so, print marketing has some incredible advantages in the modern era:
· Inexpensiveness. Some people gravitate toward digital marketing because they perceive it as less expensive. In some cases, it definitely is; email marketing, for example, costs almost nothing, but it can give you an amazing return. But other types of digital marketing strategies, like PPC advertising or SEO, are expensive compared to the benefits you get. At the same time, print marketing has gotten cheaper, thanks to the abundance of online printers available and the ease of ordering printed collateral. It’s cheaper and easier than ever to get started with print marketing.
· Reach. It’s inarguable that digital marketing gives you broader reach, but print marketing has a couple of big advantages. First, print marketing can reach people who can’t be reached through online channels; depending on your target demographics, this can be a huge plus. Second, print marketing is well-positioned to reach local audiences, since you can distribute flyers, brochures, posters, and other materials in person or via mail.
· Tangibility. Printed pieces of collateral are tangible. People can hold them, read them without using a screen, and hang them on the refrigerator. There’s something appealing about tangibility to many people, and it can’t be replicated in a digital environment.
· Permanence and top of mind value. Printed materials also have a kind of permanence to them, allowing them to facilitate more top of mind awareness.
When Does Print Marketing Make Sense?
So in what cases does printed marketing make sense for your organization?
· Local marketing. If you’re interested in local marketing – in other words, if you’re primarily targeting people in a specific area, print marketing can be highly effective. Depending on the materials you want to produce and the messaging you want to send, you can either use print marketing in combination with direct mail or circulate flyers and brochures throughout a variety of local businesses.
· Credibility/authority. The tangibility and professionalism of printed materials lend themselves to perceptions of greater credibility and authority. Anyone can whip up a graphic to showcase on social media, but you need to have a reasonable budget and a professional mindset to design and print a booklet. If you want to make the best possible impression with a new client or prospective new customers, printing materials could be the way to go.
· Physical takeaways/leave-behinds. Printed marketing collateral is also great as a physical takeaway or leave-behind. For example, let’s say you’re in a meeting with a big client and you want them to remember what you’re capable of. You can easily send them a link to your online portfolio, but it’s typically much more impactful to distribute printed portfolios that show off your work in a tangible way.
· Competitive differentiation. Another advantage of pursuing print marketing is competitive differentiation. While all your major competitors are focused on digital marketing and advertising strategies, you can be the sole player in the industry attempting to uplift your brand with print.
· Reaching specific audiences. If there’s a specific target demographic you’re trying to reach, print marketing can also be effective. For example, if you want to target people who frequently visit a specific store or restaurant, you can circulate printed materials there to appeal to them. Granted, digital marketing strategies also have highly refined audience targeting capabilities – but remember, not everyone uses the internet and not everyone willingly provides their personal information online.
· High-volume printing. The more copies of something you print, the cheaper the printing becomes. Accordingly, print marketing looks even more attractive if you’re practicing high-volume printing, reducing the cost of each individual printed item. Consider pursuing this if you have evergreen materials that are unlikely to become irrelevant in the future.
Many businesses can benefit from pursuing printed marketing and advertising, in addition to any other marketing and advertising strategies they’re already pursuing. If you’re willing to invest in good design work, and you have a reliable online printer in mind, you can maximize your chances of seeing a positive ROI.