Why Market Leaders Are Turning to Custom Print

When the big names, with their data-driven marketing, turn to print magazines, you know there’s a good reason.

When Facebook launched their new print magazine, it certainly gained some attention.

“If print is in fact dead, someone forgot to tell Facebook—as the world’s largest social media platform launched a magazine earlier this year,” writes Jason Skinner, CMO of Truth North Custom.

Of course, it’s not the first time the digital giant has used print. Facebook previously turned to print to try to stem the flow of fake ads. Maybe they truly understand the trust bump of printed magazines – consumers have told publishers loud and clear that when they want real context and in-depth analysis, they turn to magazines, not their social feed.

And it’s indicative of a larger trend, Skinner notes, in which market-leading consumer brands are using custom magazines “to advance their marketing plans and engage an audience often fatigued by digital content.”

He’s right about that; the big digital snooze has definitely opened more doors for custom print; marketers across industries are saying they are using print magazines in their content marketing strategies. For example, in the healthcare industry print magazines are used by about half of marketers surveyed in 2017.

Image source: 2017 Digital Marketing Trends in Healthcare Report

“In addition,” Skinner continues, “this table from the 2018 By The Numbers report from the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development shows that the large majority of healthcare organizations produce community publications (80%) and employee publications (71%), while nearly half produce publications for physicians (44%).”

Image source: SHSMD 2018 By The Numbers Report

Why? Because it sets the brand apart from the noise and offers a more lasting impression.

“With inboxes and news feeds being stuffed with more and more digital content, print publications delivered to relatively empty mailboxes can stand out, providing a tangible way to interact with your brand that may leave a more lasting impression with readers than an email,” Skinner explains.

But you can’t just print it and call it a day. As Skinner explains, “the goal is to meet your audience where they are across multiple channels. Your print content can (and should) serve your digital content—and vice versa. By using a behavior-based approach as you incorporate digital outreach into your marketing campaign, you can connect with your audience when, where, and how they prefer.”

Skinner and his company focus their efforts on the healthcare industry – but his advice is pertinent across the spectrum. Digital can be a good way to strategically build your audience, while print offers the deep engagement so critical to building brand trust. It’s painfully obvious that brands can’t build trust on digital alone; readers across age groups find printed materials more trustworthy. What digital can offer, as Skinner explains, is a highly targeted list.

“For instance, you may want to target cancer screening or joint replacement announcements toward older readers rather than 20-somethings who may be more interested in finding a primary care provider,” he writes.

“While the thought of tailoring content to each of your platforms can seem daunting, the truth is that your print and digital publications can still serve as the backbone of your marketing efforts while feeding content to other paid, earned, and owned media channels,” he writes.

Judging by what we are seeing from big-name market leaders, those channels most certainly include custom print.