For many organizations that are printing magazines as marketing communications pieces, moving to a digital version may be tempting. But before you hit the kill switch on the print version, be warned: You may be about to ruin a good thing.
So says Dr. Robert Magee of Virginia Tech in a recent interview with Samir Husni, aka Mr. Magazine.
As Husni points out, we are living in a rapidly-evolving digital age. For publishers of all stripes, this leads to questions about the suitability of digital vs. print as a delivery medium.
Dr. Magee wisely advises us to take a scientific approach when evaluating the potential fall-out, rather than making the decision solely for financial reasons.
He cautions, “Ceasing a print publication in favor of an online-only publication might hurt the effectiveness of an organization’s marketing communications, and managers should not make the decision based on cost alone.”
And he backs up his warning with results from a field experiment, published in Marketing Letters. What he found should make marketing managers take notice before leaping to digital and killing print.
Magee and his team tested a promotional magazine by sending subscribers either a print version or an email invitation to the online version. Follow-up surveys and metrics found that the print version had a higher open rate, and “print readers had a higher recall memory and engaged in more browsing.”
(This is not surprising to us, given the brain science that proves print resonates more deeply than digital.)
What they also discovered is that this recall and memory effect was more pronounced among younger readers, even those they were the most likely to indicate a preference for digital. Interesting.
Watch Mr. Magazine’s interview with Dr. Magee before you make any radical changes in your marketing magazine plans. It might make a world of difference in your results.