In the Internet age, many companies have turned to online advertising as their primary (and sometimes sole) source of marketing. Let’s face it, most companies already have a website, and the cost of sending a promotion to 100 or 1,000 customers is comparable, so putting together an advertisement and shotgunning it to everyone on an email list seems like a no-brainer. Creating a banner ad takes only a few moments and can be accomplished by anyone with a computer.
In comparison, print can be expensive. It requires a skilled individual to design a piece using artwork of much higher resolution than you find online for free. You can’t assign this task to just anyone in your organization with basic computer skills. Quality software for graphic design is pricey and isn’t as ubiquitous as a browser or email program. You need a targeted mailing list and you have to meet all kinds of post office regulations for sorting. Then there are production costs, paper considerations, finishing, indicia or postage, all of which have to be completed and delivered on a strict timeline.
Given these two scenarios, why would anyone choose to print their marketing materials?
The short answer is because print matters.
People respond to printed material in a much different way than digital. A Pennsylvania State University study found that print subjects remembered significantly more ad material than online subjects. This may be because people read digital text slower and spend less time doing it – a webpage garners only about 15 seconds of a reader’s attention. Despite all the hours spent in front of a screen, when faced with more information, most people prefer print and a majority will go so far as to print out longer passages for reading offline. By the way, these statistics aren’t just talking about Baby Boomers and Gen Xers as you would expect, but includes Millennials, those younger Americans glued to their phones.
Putting user age aside, another shocking statistic is that you are more likely to climb Mt. Everest than click a banner ad. So it doesn’t matter if you buy 100,000 impressions of your advertisement, the odds are that the only people clicking it are doing so by accident. Reportedly, half of all banner clicks are mistakes. The response rate is so dismal for online advertising, that companies are turning to native advertising in an effort to get anyone to look.
A printed piece is tangible and real, it can be held in your hand and lasts for years. It is a tactile experience – the feel of the paper, the weight, the size all lend to the communication. Unlike online ads, a print piece cannot be filtered, blocked, accidentally deleted or automatically discarded. Companies do not need to rely on trickery to get a customer to actually pick it up thus eliminating the risk of creating a corporate image synonymous with annoyance. And, because so many businesses are turning to online advertising, print has far less competition for the customer’s attention. As more banking and business is done online, a direct mail piece may very well be the only item in a customer’s mailbox. Its rarity makes it special.
Print engages the customer fully unlike digital advertising which not only competes against hundreds of other ads, but dozens of other websites. It is unlikely a consumer will be reading print while checking Facebook or watching a video.
A printed piece lends a sense of legitimacy to an advertisement. Banner ads and junk email are associated with cheap scams and few people want to risk clicking on a virus. Internet users find online advertising intrusive as evidenced by the explosion of ad blocking software. Print communicates that a company is successful and is willing to invest in their own message, creating the perception of respectability and that they value their customers.
The issues regarding developing a printed piece have changed drastically in the past few years. Digital production methods have made even smaller runs less expensive. Our company provides mailing services – everything from designing a piece to taking the finished product to the Post Office, allowing companies to take advantage of our decades of expertise without investing in new software or training for employees. We can direct you through the entire process, making it quick and painless. Your advertisement can be in the hands of your customers in a matter of days.
Like most things, you get what you pay for, and in this digital age, print matters because it works.
© 2015 Shelly Fagan
Diversified Print Solutions