We had a funeral at the print shop last week. No one died – at least no human – but we did say goodbye to our paper cutter. A massive beast of a machine, this industrial cutter could slice through a paper mound three reams deep like a hot knife through butter.
She was a sturdy machine and lived a good, long life. Built in 1962, she even briefly served the University of Kansas before she ended up here. No machine lasts forever, of course, and we were forced to make the decision to pull the plug.
As I reflect on her decades of service, I revel in how well-built she was. In today’s throw-away world, finding a piece of machinery or technology (anything, really) that lasts is rare.
Businesses hoping to effectively market themselves confront the same problem: We are constantly bombarded with marketing messages—even up to 4,000 ads each day. And so many of those messages vanish as soon as they hit our screens. In a rapidly accelerating digital world, how do you ensure your message sticks around?
The reasons behind print’s sticking power
It’s no secret an effective marketing strategy includes a variety of channels and media. You need to have a consistent brand message in everything you create, from Twitter to your website, from your business cards to the sign on the door.
Print can be a key ingredient in that marketing strategy precisely because – like our dear, departed cutter – it has a longer shelf life than that tweet you just pushed out—even up to two weeks for some pieces. But why is that?
We like to touch – Even as our collective smartphone addiction grows, humans will always be human, which means we want to reach out and feel the world around us. There’s a tactile experience we will always be drawn to. Think about the last really cool direct mail piece or brochure that comes to mind. You likely remember it because of the feel of the heavy linen paper or a cool spot varnish you ran your fingers over. That will always be interesting.
Print is for all ages – Recent research has shown that 82% of Millennials read direct mail and more than half enjoy receiving printed catalogs.
It causes an emotional response – It turns out that printed materials are more likely to lead to a sale. The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General teamed up with Temple University’s Center for Neural Decision Making and made some remarkable findings:
“Physical ads, though slower to get one’s attention at first exposure, leave a longer lasting impact for easy recall when making a purchase decision. Most importantly, physical ads triggered activity in the area of the brain (ventral striatum) that is responsible for value and desirability for featured products.”
Print is now the “different” choice – With text messaging, email, social media and an app for everything, a printed marketing piece is now the less obvious medium—which is precisely why it stands out. The pendulum is starting to swing back a bit, says Rieva Lesonsky in SmallBizDaily:
“As we spend more time scanning screens, marketing collateral we can hold in our hands is a key differentiator. Plain and simple, printed marketing collateral gets noticed.”
Build a stronger brand with print marketing
It goes without saying that digital marketing is only going to increase, improve and integrate into our lives more and more. But smart business owners recognize the value of diversifying their marketing portfolio—to use every effective medium to reach their customers. By creating a marketing strategy that leverages the strengths of both digital and print (as well as the various channels and media within both), you’ll be able to better target and influence your key audience.
One of the primary benefits of print marketing is its knack for reinforcing your overall brand message, says Andy Blau, senior vice president of finance and advertising at Time Inc.:
“It’s really for establishing brand worthiness in the marketplace, for establishing the value of the brand … It’s really pure brand advertising. And digital tries to do some of that, but it’s still much more of a direct response. People still measure digital with click-throughs and conversion rates, and you can’t necessarily maintain marketing of a brand through digital alone.”
I love the opportunity to help our customers create a high-quality printed piece that will not only be memorable but also effective at helping them achieve their marketing goals. Because just like our own cutter, when something is made the right way, it leaves a lasting impression.
Dan Woehrman is owner of Callender Printing, offering full-service printing capabilities – including letterpress, offset and digital – with union craftsmen quality. Share your thoughts on Facebook! Or on Twitter @CallenderPrint.