For 30 years we have seen the printing market change, decline, adjust and change again. We learned that technology was going to change the way our customers marketed their businesses, and along the way we started to witness a decline in the need for printed products like continuous business forms, unit sets, and hand written checks. However, the print industry is far from dead; in fact, print marketing has only continued to grow and evolve alongside the upsurge of new technology.
This is what we see as printers today:
Smart Business Cards
Your business card is like the firmness of your handshake. A limp and wimpy business card? Well, you get the picture. Better paper quality and digital printing processes have made high quality business cards more affordable. Today, companies are focusing on business cards that interact with technology. The ability to hand a new connection a physical card that encompasses who you are is still important. But now we can include technology like QR codes that make it easy for people to learn more about us with a flick of their smartphone. Print and the internet become directly related—a printed reminder of who you are meets interaction in a virtual space.
Variable Print Direct Mail With Measurable Results
Direct mail has made a remarkable comeback by integrating cross-media strategies that become part of the companies’ inbound marketing campaigns. Consumers respond to direct mail that targets their individual interests, behavior and needs. The Direct Marketing Association benchmark reported that with a 1.4% response rate, direct mail is still more effective than emails, online ads and paid search. Direct mail that takes the recipient’s needs into account is another example of how technology has improved print marketing, not killed it.
Print Integrates with Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is about attracting prospects with targeted, engaging online content, nurturing leads, and converting customers. So how does inbound marketing work with print? Prospects may find you online through inbound marketing, but print can help you close the deal. Printed collateral adds a sense of trust and credibility to information and can help prospects make a buying decision. Print marketing and inbound marketing can support each other—inbound marketing helps you attract leads, and print helps you convert those leads into customers.
Promotional Products that Increase Visibility
People often forget that print marketing means more than just paper—it encompasses promotional products and logo apparel, too! According to the ASI Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study, promotional products have a lower cost per impression than TV, radio and magazine ads, meaning that you can increase your brand visibility and delight your customers, even on a tight budget.
From this print marketer’s point of view, print isn’t dead—it will continue to grow in 2014. I see more companies understanding how to leverage print to organize their internal processes, provide better marketing communications through collateral, and better understand how technology and print compliment and support each other.