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The Power of Print: 8 Reasons To Use Print Marketing

We are sad to announce that Print is Dead. 

Time of death: Sometime in the mid-2000s. 

Cause: Digital Media. 

A moment of silence for all print…


Print is far from “dead.” In fact, despite a drastic change in trends, print has proven itself to be a long-lasting and impactful form of marketing.

Why invest in traditional marketing if everyone is online? Stick around and I will tell you 8 reasons why you should consider using print marketing.

But first – what is “print”?

brochures from South City Print used for print marketing

Print includes tangible items such as brochures, direct mail pieces, signage and so much more. Print marketing is the use of any of these physical materials to promote a business or organization. This can range from a simple store-front sign, to a targeted direct mail campaign, to as grand as a billboard advertisement.

Why do some believe that print is “dead”?

As I jokingly established, digital media is the culprit. But, it isn’t as simple as that. Trends and consumer behavior have changed as technology has advanced, and businesses and marketers have adapted with the times to meet the needs and interests of consumers. During the Great Recession of 2008-2009, as the economy suffered, so did the printing industry.

Over the years, print has faced criticism of being expensive and outdated. It’s also the most trustworthy and engaging. Digital, on the other hand, is seen as cost-effective and fast. But, it’s also impersonal and less memorable.

Don’t let cost sway you

Different media can fulfill different goals, businesses and audiences. That being said, marketers and business owners with a limited budget shouldn’t be put-off by print. An established printing company like our own (shameless plug) can help you determine which materials and marketing strategies best suite your business goals, without breaking the bank.

Digital Media is here to stay

Over the past decade, digital media has enhanced the world of marketing – offering businesses new avenues for reaching audiences where they are (on their smartphones). It’s safe to say that digital is here to stay.

But the popularity around digital marketing has not diminished print marketing. In fact, as digital has become more prevalent in our day-to-day lives, print has started to become a somewhat non-traditional form of marketing, making it a unique and strategic way to stand out. Looks like we’ve gone full circle! 

The Power of Print Marketing

Recent data shows that print is trusted, engaging, and motivates purchase behavior. Plus, it’s popular among a span of generations, particularly Millennials. What’s more, print can actually enhance the effectiveness of digital marketing.

Here are 8 reasons why you should consider investing in print marketing for your business:

1. Print is Trustworthy

The non-invasive nature of print

As all marketers know, establishing trust with your audience is a key component to building a strong customer relationship and a lasting brand. According to MailShark, 56% of people feel that print advertising is the most trustworthy form of marketing. A key reason for this is the inherently non-intrusive nature of print marketing.

Some forms of digital advertising, like online pop-up ads or unsolicited emails, can feel aggressive to consumers. Annoying your audience is not exactly the best way to build trust. A printed piece shared by hand or via mail is a more relaxed form of marketing. Consumers like to have a choice as to when and how they consume information, and print allows for that sense of autonomy.

Compared to online, with print there is less fear of privacy invasion or contact from a dangerous source. In fact, 82% of Americans trust print ads and 76% trust direct mail, compared to only 25% of people who trust online pop-up ads.

I can personally relate. Constantly seeing digital ads that are tracking my every click and search can be unsettling and down-right annoying. A personalized postcard offering me 25% off my next purchase at a local boutique is way more appealing to me than a generic, repetitive ad on my Instagram feed. 

Personal is better

In addition to being non-invasive, print can be personalized. When you invest in your materials by writing engaging copy, using quality design, and even adding recipients’ names, customers trust you more. 

Consumers are more likely to trust direct mail and the companies that use it more than any digital media (MailShark). If people trust your company’s communication and advertising methods, then odds are over time they will be more likely to buy.

2. Print is Engaging & Desirable

woman excited about what she sees on paper to show the engagement of print marketing

In a 2015 study done by the USPS and the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University, researchers looked at responses to physical and digital ad pieces. According to the study, people like engaging with print.

In fact:

  • People spent more time with physical ads than they did digital ads.
  • Physical ads influenced activity in the brain related to value and desirability. Research shows that activation in these areas during product evaluation indicates a stronger intent to purchase.
  • There is 20% higher activation in the parts of the brain that correspond with motivation response.

Participants also had a stronger emotional response to physical ads and remembered them better. Basically, when consumers look at your physical ad, they are more likely to think “I like that and I want it!”

3. Print is Memorable

Marketing is an exercise in memory. Usually marketers will achieve memorability through repetition – like relentless pop-up ads.

It’s been revealed that brands that advertise with direct mail make a bigger impression on customers and are more likely to be remembered than brands that don’t.

Similar to the USPS study, Neuromarketing firm TrueImpact partnered with Canada Post to conduct a study in which they compared paper marketing (direct mail) with digital media (email and display ads) by using the same creative and messaging for both. According to the study, direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to understand than digital media. This suggests that print marketing is both easier to understand and more memorable than digital.

The study also reports that brand recall is 70% higher for a direct mail piece compared to a digital ad.

If you want consumers to remember your brand name, and be more motivated to take action, opt for adding print to your marketing mix.

4. Targets Your Local Market 

Print provides an opportunity to target specific areas and demographics and build local brand recognition. With tools like Every Door Direct Mail or a targeted direct mail campaign, you can distribute postcards, flyers, booklets and more to homes and areas local to your business.

These techniques are especially beneficial to service and small businesses that target homeowners and non-profit organizations. Direct mail postcards and newsletters can increase donations by up to 50% (Chilliprinting).

And if you’re B2B, you can also send to businesses in your target areas both near and far. Signage and promotional products can also be used in a variety of ways to direct people to your local business.  

5. Print Materials are Long Lasting & Easily Shared

people sharing a brochure to show the shareable nature of print marketing materials

Paper sticks around longer than digital. According to Small Biz Genius, 73% of American consumers prefer being contacted by brands through direct mail because they have the choice to read it whenever they want.

Printed materials can be great for sharing important or valuable information with consumers, especially if that information can be used again. A non-profit organization can share a brochure with resources such as contact information for people to utilize repeatedly.

As a recent college graduate, whenever I get a coupon or sale flyer in the mail from a local restaurant or boutique, it goes right in my wallet for future use. I’ve also held on to countless promotional products that I have found useful and attractive.

Print is also easily shared. With a physical copy of your business card or event flyer, people can share your message with others, creating more connections. Think of how that can enhance your brand awareness overtime!

6. Print Breaks Through Digital Clutter

Digital ads are everywhere. At this point, my eyes glaze over when I see an ad on my social media feed unless it’s something I truly want or need (looking at you, relentless shoe ads!) Nowadays, digital is the traditional form of advertising. It’s what is expected, which makes print all the more invaluable.

CoFounder shares that the average American is exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 pieces of advertising per day. This is creating a phenomenon referred to as ad blindness, or the inability to “see” an advertisement. Comparatively, the USPS reports that the average person only receives about 2 pieces of mail per day. 

With so many ways to reach consumers online, there’s more incentive for consumers to tune out advertisements and messages from brands. Using direct marketing, however, you have an opportunity to reach consumers without interruption or annoyance.

7. Millennials Respond to Print

millennial, young woman reading a book to show millennial interest in print marketing

You may assume that print marketing is only desirable and effective among older generations such as Boomers. I used to think the same. However, studies have shown that Millennials actually like print marketing.

Here are the facts:

  • Compared to previous generations, Millennials are 71% more likely to scan the mail and 24% more likely to show mail to others (USPS Mail Moments, 2016).

Don’t get it twisted – Millennials still spend a lot more time online than older generations, so there’s no need to abandon your digital marketing strategies. However, if your target audience includes younger generations like Millennials, there is incentive to add print to your marketing mix. 

8. Print Marketing Enhances Digital

Even though print is thriving, don’t jump the gun to ditch digital. Digital still offers major advantages such as speed, social media interactivity, audio and video, and more. Instead, I recommend augmenting your current marketing strategy with print. Science has clearly provided that paper can have more impact and be more memorable than digital (Forbes).

The Canada Post study concluded that the key to “smarter marketing, stronger customer relationships and higher sales” is combining digital and physical marketing.

What’s more, Millward Brown study found that combining print and digital helps reinforce a message by reaching consumers on multiple channels. QR codes and other tactics that link print materials to digital have made it a viable tool for generating leads and customer engagement.

If you plan to start a marketing campaign, consider making it omni-channel by including a direct mailer. By promoting your online marketing via direct marketing, you’ll see more direct traffic to your website!

Direct Mail MAX, direct mail marketing and digital advertising in one

A New Age of Print…

It is important to note that print marketing is very different today than it was even 10 years ago. In a way, the “death” of print has allowed for a rebirth of print marketing as a strategic tool for businesses in 2020’s digital world. Marketers now have the ability to customize physical materials with names of prospects, choose from a variety of high-quality materials and sizes, and incorporate direct mail campaigns with digital ads.

Printing is more accessible than ever. At South City Print, our customers can upload their files or request an estimate for their materials at the click of a button, making print a useful and convenient option for small and local businesses in Charlotte, NC. You can even get help with the design of your materials.

Consider reviving your marketing with print. You won’t be sorry.

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