ThinkOTB Agency

Is print marketing making a comeback?

April 4, 2023

We’re so used to seeing social media ads, in-app advertising, newsfeed ads, that it’s easy to believe that print marketing isn’t relevant today. However savvy marketers are using print to win customer loyalty and sales right now… Check out some of the benefits of print advertising for yourself!

The pandemic forced many of us to spend hours in front of screens and by the end of 2022 Twilio revealed around 36% of consumers globally had experienced digital fatigue in the last 30 days, rising to 47% in Generation Z respondents. This finding highlights that the digital space is saturated, and marketers are struggling to get campaigns to stand out.

In fact, in 2019 139 new magazine titles were launched in the US alone, and the same study by The Association of Magazine Media found that magazine readers contribute to 73% of primary sales. So, it’s no surprise that we’ve seen direct mail and print publishing experiencing a resurgence. During the first lockdown, engagement with mail reached its highest level ever at 96% in UK households, and the biggest rise in engagement came from people aged 18 – 34. Used in the right way, print it is still an important marketing channel with this key audience.

So, here’s 5 reasons why print marketing should still be an important part of your marketing mix:

1. Strong response rates

The DMA found that there’s an average response rate of 9% for direct mail campaigns, compared to an average 2.1% response rate for email campaigns. They also found that 9.2% of consumers receiving a direct mail had been driven online.

2. Print stands out

It used to be our doormats that were filled with marketing, now it’s our inboxes. Print marketing has gone full circle and enjoys standout against the huge amounts of marketing emails we receive every day, plus its tactile nature gives us a more memorable sensory experience.

GDPR has also changed how businesses can communicate with customers. Companies like Apple, have introduced privacy protection allowing customers to create temporary email addresses to sign up for things that they can then delete and introducing anonymous email tracking, making location tracking and open tracking pointless.

3. Print is retained for longer

Research by The Association of Magazine Media shows that information is easier to process and retain when it’s in print. People take more time to read the content and focus more on the overall message, and unlike digital advertising, space limitations force information to be concise and to the point. What’s more, readership continues to grow even 10 weeks after publication, with magazines being kept for further reading later.

4. Print is more trusted

The amount of fake news has also highlighted the lack of trust in digital channels. 56% of consumers say print is now the most trustworthy form of marketing.

5. Digital can cost

Digital used to be the cheaper option. But, digital publishing is increasingly in demand and there are high costs for advertising as brands bid for the best keywords. Conversely, innovations in digital printing are now helping brands to print on demand. You can now produce targeted, segmented campaigns using complex data sets, all at low cost with maximum efficiency.

The best campaign

All these plus points stack up for print, but the best results happen when digital and print work together. Savvy marketers take the best performing blog posts and edit them for print publication. You can take an advert and turn it into a book or magazine. Or, use ‘visual commerce’ mobile image recognition to make print shoppable and interactive.

Using multimedia alongside print to combine video, virtual tours, and many other options that aren’t available in print is the best strategy to generate more exposure and provide additional outreach opportunities.

For print to continue its resurgence in 2023 and beyond, its vital that brands find an authentic way to demonstrate their sustainability credentials, using packaging or recycled print. The UK’s Advertising Association recently launched the Ad Net Zero initiative. It aims to help reduce UK advertising’s carbon impact to real net zero by 2030.

Not only is print making a comeback, it’s thriving! It’s been able to retain its foundations whilst innovating to keep up with changes in consumer behaviour. At ThinkOTB our foundations are also built on direct marketing, and you can read all about it here.


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