Is there still a place for print?

Sometimes it seems like print has gone the way of 8-track tapes, Betamax and rotary phones. A relic of the past. But is that true? Can your business still benefit from old-fashioned ink on paper – or should you just move on and concentrate entirely on other mediums?

Let’s start by dispelling the myth. Print is not dead. It’s not dying. It’s not even injured. But its place in the pantheon of business tools has changed. And its purpose is different and your business should use it accordingly.

Recognize the print evolution

The arrival of the web – its adoption by customers and its valuable interactive capabilities – has changed how customers/clients respond to print materials. After decades of paper marketing overload, not everything needs to be inscribed on chopped trees. That’s a good thing. It’s a cost saver and a benefit to your marketing efforts, giving them greater effect and variety.

Embrace the renewed value of print

Since records were the preferred music format, we’ve seen the arrival of 8-tracks, cassette tapes, CDs and now MP3s and other digital formats. But records have not disappeared. In fact, vinyl sales are up. The format still serves a purpose. There’s a quality to records that is lacking in the other formats. A quality that people value.

Print is the same. Its place has changed, but its value has not. In fact, as the mass quantities of printed marketing materials that once flooded the business landscape diminish, the value of print increases. Print pieces actually stand out more today (at least when put together effectively).

Use print for content with weight

There are other values to printed materials too. Print has weight. You can hold it in your hands. You can go back to it. It has staying power. Impressive print pieces – with quality copy and design – may be something people return to far more than a PDF stuffed in an ever-expanding email folder. Print exists in our world. It’s physical, which is both its downside and its strength.

So, when you have some particularly compelling content you want to impart – a catalog, a new product/service, an overall summary of your business – print should be a part of your marketing strategy. High quality print materials still have the power to impress. They legitimize and impact potential customers in a way files or web pages cannot. The key is to use print strategically. What content will benefit from print? Pick and choose.

Tie print pieces back to the Web

All that being said, I would not create a single print piece today without a customized, corresponding web component. Sure, a print piece can still grab attention and stir interest. But there needs to be more. There needs to be another level where people who are engaged in the piece can interact with the organization and find additional info. There needs to be a stage two.

So the final takeaways here: (1) Create print marketing materials strategically. (2) Make sure your content and design have a wow factor. (3) Have a plan for putting the materials in the hands of a specific audience. (4) Create correlating Web components for all your print materials – landing pages, microsites, etc. When you take these steps, print can still be a monster marketing tool with a mighty roar.