In order to seem smart or to cultivate ‘smart’ as a brand, a certain segment of the world is always engaged in trying to predict the future. The more dramatic the announcements, the more counter-intuitive the predictions, the more attention these gurus receive.
They’re usually wrong. A few years ago, when the Internet finally broke through and became something truly powerful, useful, and (most importantly) pervasive, there were a lot of Think Pieces concerning how print was going away. Books, brochures, business cards – all of it was going to be replaced by digital assets on our phones, our tablets, our Google Glasses (and we all now know how well the latter turned out).
But then something surprising happened: Print books sales rebounded. Business cards became ‘in’ again. The fact is, print remains a powerful part of any marketing plan – for three basic reasons.
Print is an Investment
Although it’s not true, the world tends to view digital, online assets like websites and other graphics as cost-free. People expect to download things for free from the Internet, and people tend to expect that the online marketing materials we create are more or less free as well. They attach little value to them.
Print, on the other hand, is viewed as a premium. It’s a physical object, and people know simply by feeling it in their hands that you spent money on it. As a result, they value it more highly and it makes more of an impression on them – and it makes your business seem more valuable and worthwhile at the same time.
Print Expands Your Reach
The Internet can seem like a basic service like water or electricity, but there’s a bias there because we live in a world where the Internet and its related costs are common. This isn’t true in all areas of the world – or even all areas of life. If you restrict all of your marketing to the digital world you’re excluding a huge portion of the world. Even people with regular and easy Internet access aren’t online all the time, and your marketing reach is limited online to the people you can attract or reach out to through lists.
Print marketing, on the other hand gets out into the world. If places or distributed intelligently, it can reach not only more people than online efforts, but a wider demographic spread of people, including people who would buy your products but never find you online.
Print Augments Digital
Finally, print is a powerful component of any marketing campaign because it very effectively augments digital assets. Through the use of URLs, QR Codes, and other devices, a business card not only serves as a classy reminder of a business contact, it offers fast and easy access to your online assets without forcing people to remember inscrutable addresses or emails. In most cases of modern marketing, print assets actually drive online traffic very effectively, if they’re designed properly.
Print is far from dead – and after a brief slump appears to be roaring back in terms of importance and effectiveness. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring this trend!