Print’s relevancy in the digital age

As a graphic designer, I love creating for print. There’s something special about designing a piece that you know will eventually end up in the hands of your consumers, rather than just viewed on a screen. The past decade has ushered in a stampede of marketers lauding the print-to-digital transformation and decrying the glossy brochures, weighty annual reports and other print pieces many of us find so satisfying. But as the dust settles, the benefits of preserving a strategic print presence in campaigns has sustained and, thankfully for us print geeks, the traditional medium isn’t going away. Melding print and digital into multi-channel campaigns has proven to be the most effective, strategic approach to boosting brand recognition and achieving objectives. Here are four reasons to include print in your marketing mix:

The experience

Print offers an experience that digital media simply can’t imitate. When designing a print piece, you have to consider the way people will physically interact with it — unfolding a brochure or flipping through a magazine is tactile and, if executed properly, can be influential. A study focused on how people cognitively process direct mail versus digital media found that print pieces are more memorable and easier for consumers to understand. Designers can utilize texture, shape, weight and countless other aspects that aren’t available in the digital world to get their audiences’ attention. The tangibility of print gives it a lasting impact — something that the instantaneous world of digital has yet to replicate.

It strengthens digital

Digital is stronger when coupled with a print strategy. Using a call-to-action in your print ads can help drive traffic to a unique landing page, where you can track impressions and conversions. You can also leverage print ads to encourage engagement with your brand’s social media presence.

Hard to ignore

Consumers are bombarded by thousands of digital advertisements on a daily basis. Watching the news, checking social media, using phone apps, pumping gas — targeted advertisements are inescapable. And, as a result of the ensuing clutter, we’ve become experts in tuning them out: The majority of people block ads online or skip traditional TV commercials. Print, meanwhile, is harder to ignore. People instinctively look at what they’re holding in their hands, whether that’s a direct mail piece, a magazine insert or some other form of print advertisement. More eyes on your brand’s message is always beneficial to a campaign.

Customization connects

Variable–data printing (VDP) is a form of digital printing that allows for elements on print pieces to be changed on each individual print. This permits customization of text, graphics or images on a piece-by-piece basis without slowing the print process. Tailoring the look-and-feel or message to segmented target audiences can help your piece resonate and connect consumers to your brand.