Is print dead? This was the question that I was asked before I joined Integrity Print. So, put yourself in my shoes – a digital marketeer; a self-confessed ‘tech geek’; a natural advocate for the supremacy of digital media and technology; heading for an interview with one of the most prominent printing companies in the country and asked to give my opinion on whether or not their entire industry had succumbed to the rise of the digital age.
The obvious response to my would-be employers would have been to say “No! Of course not. Why would I choose to dive head-first into a new industry if I believed it was dying? Print is definitely not dead – it just needs better marketing” . . . So that’s what I said!
Well, they seemed to like my approach and here I am in my first week at Integrity. Although my sentiment was genuine, I thought I should dig deeper and offer some insight into why I was prepared to make my bold statement. I took the time, did the research and asked myself the question “Is print dead?”.
In a word, no. Now, we could address the elephant in the room – this is a blog, it’s digital, and for the next 400 words or so, will proceed to explain why print hasn’t been killed off by digital media. However, for the sake of progression, let’s just sidestep the irony, shall we?
It’s true, we live in a digital age; millennials raised on pixels driving the social media machine ever forward; gigabytes of information being shared at the tap of a mousepad; and mobile phones and tablets basically running our lives. So, where does that leave the humble print industry? Alive and Thriving! Not convinced? Let’s explore . . .
The digital detox
This is something that one in five people surveyed admitted they needed, with 70% of people looking to reduce their overall consumption of digital media. True – digital technologies have transformed nearly every aspect of our lives, and will probably continue to do so, however, it seems digital fatigue is creeping in. And when it comes to brand awareness, 70% of people are more likely to remember a brand that they see in print versus online advertising.
The personal touch
Let’s face it, we’d all rather get an actual birthday card than an e-card; a letter rather than an email; and a gift voucher rather than a discount code. We tend to have a stronger emotional connection with print; touch, feel and smell all playing their part. Brands are recognising that services like direct mail are connecting with recipients in a way that provokes action. According to the latest DMA Direct Mail Response Rate Report, the average response rate for direct mail is around 9%. Compare that with email which comes in at less than 1% and you can see why direct mail is a popular marketing channel for businesses who are looking to grow their brands.
Credibility and trustworthiness
Books, newspapers and magazines have been a part of our lives for decades, even centuries. As a result, we tend to place a great deal of trust in printed materials and the content we read within them. UK statistics show that printed media such as newspapers were the second most trusted source of advertising after television, with digital sources such as websites and social media falling behind. #fakenews
Digital is easier to abandon
Print, not so much. Once we’ve finished with a website, we’re likely to ignore it – all that digital detail competing for our attention: “Buy this”; “Subscribe here”; “Read our blog (!)”. But print occupies a physical space – reminding us of its presence even when we’ve put it down. As a result, we’re far more likely to pick it up again.
So . . .
Printing has been with us for over 500 years but far from being dead in a world of automated processing and artificial intelligence, print is not only alive but continues to connect with us in a way that can never really be replaced.