There is a lot of chatter in our industry about the resurgence of print marketing, painting a picture of a David and Goliath-like fight back against the all-powerful digital marketing. Following a decade or more of digital gold rush frenzy, marketers are coming down to earth and returning to the welcoming arms of print.
Whilst this makes for nice headlines, the reality is that print never really went away. The shift in spend towards digital has been nothing short of eye-watering; however direct mail remains the 3rd largest marketing medium*. Sure, it has been overshadowed by its sexier rival – and suffered from a lack of transparency in terms of tracking. But times are changing – and never has there been a better time to get back in touch with this old friend.
Numerous studies have pointed to the power of printed mail over its digital counterpart. It is viewed as more authoritative, more immersive, likely to be kept for considerably longer and referred to multiple times – over four times on average**. Compare that to marketing email, four-fifth of which is never even opened!
So why might this be? In this always on, omni-channel world, there is something quite calming about taking time out from our mindless scrolling to give our full attention to something of real interest. Combine this with the richer sensory experience and we begin to understand print’s power to engage.
Given this, should we eschew digital in favour of this old friend? Well, let’s not be quite so hasty.
Interestingly, studies have shown that printed mail is effective at driving online action. According to JICMAIL, the first ever measurement system for mail, 70% people are driven online as a result of the physical piece**. Furthermore, the more a person engages with digital media, the more likely they are to engage with the physical direct mail also**.
So, far from being a fight to the death between digital and print, there are substantial commercial benefits in integrating the two. Combine with this the new opportunities in print that digital innovation brings – such as greater targeting through data analysis, personalisation using digital printing and cross media integration through marketing automation.
Never has there been a better time to take a look at the brave new world of print, now turbo-charged through digital innovation.
* Print is Different, DMA and IDM, 6th March 2019
** Demonstrating the Effectiveness of Mail, Royal Mail MarketReach/JICMAIL White Paper