The catalyst for this story is a fantastic brochure produced by The Print Council (www.theprintcouncil.org) simply titled Why Print?. We highlighted some of the key points made by the Council in this month's issue, or you can download a PDF of the full brochure from here.
Print is for keeps.
Take magazines for example. Magazine content can be spotlighted and passed along on a one-to-one basis. A Magazine Publishers of America survey found that 24% of readers typically pass an article along to someone else, 23% save the article for future reference, and 13% visit a related website. In action, print's durability has a positive impact on every message it touches. It says: Your message is significant. That you cared enough to put it on paper. That you are authentic rather than virtual, and you will be there when we need you.
Print is portable.
Print is the ultimate in portability and playability. They can pick up a magazine at a newsstand, buy a book on the fly or grab your brochure from a trade show exhibit. There are no compatibility issues, no need to keep anything charged, and never a worry about screen glare. Print can be carried and consumed anywhere, at anytime: On trains, planes and automobiles. Take it to bed, to the beach or to the bath. There's no need to boot it up or power it down. Print is always there and always ready to instruct, inform and entertain.
Print drives a higher ROI.
Printing is particularly persuasive as direct mail. According to research by the Direct Marketing Association and the Wharton Economic Forecasting Associates, print's performance through the mail can be measured in dollars and cents. The DMA researchers found that U. S. advertisers spend $167 per person in direct mail marketing to earn $2,095 worth of goods per person, scoring a return on investment of 13 to 1.
Why? Because people gravitate toward print. A total of 38% of households surveyed by the U. S. Postal Service in 2006 found direct mail pieces interesting. That study also found that 85% of mail is either read or visually scanned by recipients. And direct mail is also a great way to expand business relationships and keep customers loyal. A study by the Rochester Institute of Technology Printing Industry Center found that 67% of respondents like getting mail about new products from companies they do business with.
Print is beautiful.
Why do they call it the graphic arts? Because print is beautiful and printers continue to consider every job they do a personal masterpiece. And now, advanced printing techniques, like high-fi color and advanced screening, make their work more appealing and more compelling. Draw the eye to the printed content, and a new generation of papers and substrates make readers want to touch and feel your message. You can't get any closer than that. The beauty of print will enhance your product or service, giving it a special appeal of its own and an extra tangible dimension that no electronic media can impart.
Print plays well with others.
Sure, the Internet is cool. What's cooler is using a printed direct mail campaign to draw prospects to a personalized website, then following up with a printed thank-you card or closer.
Consider the study published in the Journal of Advertising Research, which examined the advertising impact on weekly sales of a pizza franchiser. It found that the best combination of media in driving sales is direct mail and national TV advertising used together. The print/broadcast duo doubled the impact of using any one medium alone.
Buyers seek print.
Online consumers who received a printed catalog from any given retailer were nearly twice as likely to make an online purchase at that retailer's website. The finding comes from a comScore survey based on 6,400 responses from online shoppers. The reason for the sales windfall: Consumers seek print when they're ready to buy. That's a fact supported by a field study by the Direct Marketing Association. Scoring the primary channels for generating orders, the research found that 60% came from printed catalogs, 24% were inspired by retail settings and only 9% arrived via Internet.
Print is credible.
People love the speed and scope of the Internet, but the Web's fleeting nature makes them wonder: Am I getting the fast shuffle here? And what's all this contradictory information? Conversely, our ink-on-paper medium is believable because print is real, print is timeless and print is focused.
An increasing number of marketers are leveraging print's high credibility by using custom publications to get their messages out and absorbed. Researchers also found that 66% of people surveyed read custom publications and that 80% agree that custom publications contain useful information. They are believers because print is the credible medium.
Print puts them in control.
Telemarketing is the crudest form of cold calling and, with the growth in do-not-call lists, its effectiveness has sunk to an all-time low. But what happens when we add print to the equation? Send prospects a personalized mailing that introduces the caller and lets them tell you the best time to call. Now you're putting the potential customer in control of the situation. There are no more interruptions at dinner. There is only a positive flow of information between the marketer and the consumer. The bond starts to get stronger, the relationship grows, and the sale becomes a natural progression of the power of print rather than a rude intrusion.
Print is personal.
Using new variable data printing (VDP) and one-to-one messaging techniques, you can personalize each and every piece of your print campaign — right down to the specific photos you use and every word of your pitch. Did someone say relationship building? According to a report by Interquest, the response rate for customized color direct mail campaigns ranged from 6% to 75%, with an average of 21%. The response rates were, on average, 5. 6 times higher for customized color versions than for simple mail merge applications.
Print is everywhere.
9 out of 10 designers polled have worked in print during the last year. What's more, a total of 91% of the designers surveyed reported their projects involved print exclusively or were comprised of a substantial print component.
There is even evidence that we like print more than television. A study by the Magazine Publishers of America found that for 36 brands that shifted ad expenditures from TV to magazines, media effectiveness scores doubled over time.