There’s plenty of evidence that print “still” works, despite the rise of digital. We see digital-first brands launching magazines, Amazon mailing a print toy catalog, and a shift in the fashion industry from mass market to branded print.
Yes, it’s true that some brands are going all-digital, but it’s pretty obvious to most marketers now that print plays a vital role in the customer journey.
“Hoosier Lottery is one business that has recognized this,” writes Jason Gaunt, SVP of APS Group, in MediaPost. “The Indiana-based company includes billboards in 50% of its marketing campaigns. Why?
“The company needs to be able to generate instant awareness when it releases a new product — and there’s nothing like a giant printed sign to do this,” Gaunt continues. “The company’s lottery tickets can be purchased at major retailers, in locations that usually require a car journey. So, the use of billboards in this scenario enables Hoosier Lottery to connect with potential customers while driving in their cars, and encourages them to purchase its products.”
Gaunt gives several other examples of brands that are leveraging the benefits of print, and then makes a great observation on why some marketers are still skeptical to put their efforts into print.
“Most marketers will say they believe print works, but they’re nervous to invest because it isn’t 100% measurable,” Gaunt explains. “However, there has been a significant backlash against digital metrics in recent years. For example, Comscore revealed that 54% of online display ads are not being seen by anyone. And when Facebook admitted that it grossly exaggerated the amount of time spent watching videos, can we really trust the numbers digital provides? This has helped marketers reassess their view on print measurement.”
He’s wise to point this out; the level of fraud and sketchy metrics in online advertising is mindboggling, and anyone who claims they have a firm handle on their data and what it means probably isn’t paying attention. So while they may think their ads are fully accountable, it’s far less certain than we might think.
However, Gaunt believes the tide continues to turn back toward print as an important channel, as we’ve seen.
“Print was taken from under the spotlight when digital took center stage,” Gaunt continues, “but it appears that the next era of marketing will see the two media working together side by side. Marketers are starting to become more confident when choosing which channel to adopt for their campaigns, prioritizing which will work best for their target audience. I’m sure 2019 will see more of this trend.”
In fact, print and digital are the new power couple, and marketers have been calling a truce to focus on leveraging the benefits of both to improve campaign results. For print publishers, it’s important to realize two things – 1) the tide is turning, even if at times it seems painfully slow; and 2) the war is over. It’s time to look at your print ad offering in a new way; as a powerful platform to creatively engage readers at the right point in their journey – and send them happily forward on their path.