This is Not Your Boss’s Legacy Media

Small but mighty. That’s how Suburbia Studios, a Vancouver-based marketing and ad agency, describes itself. The same could be said of the kind of print their clients are using.

“Print is alive, kicking and generating terrific results for many of our clients—especially when it comes to branded magazines,” writes Jacquie Arnatt, Suburbia Studios’ GM, on LinkedIn. She cites a list of notable companies that are setting the new bar high in branded print, like Porter, Airbnb, United Air, Red Bull – and many others.

Arnatt notes that, especially for lifestyle marketers, print has a slew of specific benefits. She calls out these 10 in particular:

  1. Allows you to differentiate your brand and reinforce what makes you unique through the design, visual approach, content strategy and tone and manner.
  2. Allows you to rise above the constant static of the Internet and the lure of ceaseless clickbait and truly stand out from the crowd. Print is seen as more credible than digital (Hubcast), and as a way to reinforce key brand attributes in a meaningful way.
  3. Allows you to provide product information and inspiration to multiple target segments.
  4. Print is tactile—the sensory experience of reading on print is significant and makes a stronger cognitive impression than digital (Hubcast).
  5. Allows for intimacy: 50% of consumers do no other activity while reading a magazine.
  6. Cost effective engagement: consumers spend an average of 25 minutes reading a custom magazine—that’s the equivalent of about 50 30-second television spots without distractions.
  7. Magazines have a longer life-span in the home and benefit from, conservatively, a 2.5 industry norm pass-along factor (Think Mint Media).
  8. Creative assets can be broken into snack size bites and leveraged across an array of other channels to help amortize the investment and reinforce core messages.
  9. Print is a vessel that can include multiple calls to action, promotions and offers—all “trackable.”

So what about the “print is dead” crowd? She pulls a great line from author Ruth Jamieson who writes: “The whole ‘is print dead?’ question has been knocking around for a while now. Digital people say it is dead. Print people say it isn’t. I wanted to change the record and say, yes, a certain kind of print is dead, or dying, but who cares? Quite simply, the internet does fast, cheap distribution of throwaway information much, much better than print does. So in killing that specific kind of print, digital media has cleared the way for a new, much more interesting, much more exciting print to spring up.”

That’s probably the clearest distinction I’ve heard yet on digital publishing – and a great way to understand the current niche title explosion. If you’re truly looking for fast, cheap and easy, you know where to go. For brand marketers who are more interested in building long-term audience loyalty, the “new” print offers a massively powerful medium … if they can find their way around their collective blind spot toward legacy or “old” media.

“And that is the opportunity for marketers — to invent a new kind of print, one that brings what makes a brand special to life in a fresh way that informs, engages and most of all, inspires,” Arnatt concludes. “Print isn’t dead. It’s being reborn, and looking for bold, smart marketers to lead the way forward.”