In our line of business (i.e. content marketing), this question comes up regularly. Is print marketing dead?
Although the role of print in content marketing has indeed changed over the last couple of decades, the simple answer to this question is no, print marketing is not dead.
At Tulip Media, we actively promote print marketing to all of our Client-Partners. When I talk about content marketing, most people think of digital marketing platforms such as blogs, social media and instant messaging. But of course, content marketing means so much more than just content found online in the digital format.
Content marketing also encapsulates print marketing.
What Does Print Marketing Look Like Today?
Print marketing in itself can take many different forms. Marketing through a print platform can potentially incorporate a variety of media, such as custom printed newsletters, white papers, and published articles in targeted magazines. Print marketing can also mean publishing your own magazine or book to engage and re-engage your audience.
This is why we still consider print marketing an essential part of any content marketing strategy. Notably, it remains one of the three pillars of marketing: digital marketing, print marketing, and interactive marketing.
All three pillars of marketing work together to relay valuable content, communicate effectively and maintain meaningful relationships with your client base. In other words, you really need to leverage all three pillars in order to optimize your marketing efforts.
How is Print Marketing Integrated into Content Marketing?
What digital marketing has enabled is more frequent communication with your target audience and a further reach into new markets. This modern marketing platform offers quick hits and top of mind awareness in both existing and potential clientele. It works to attract people to your website and social media pages so they can learn what your business is and what you’re about.
Digital marketing is a great way to build an online following, but web content can only take you so far in building and maintaining meaningful relationships with your clients, which is why you need to back your digital marketing efforts up with print.
Modern print marketing has evolved to supplement the fast pace of digital marketing. When you have a captive audience, the best way to nurture that audience is through print. Not only is print more personable for your valued clients, but it also offers a number of other benefits, such as credibility and longevity.
Think about the experience of reading an article in a printed magazine versus reading an article online. In general, magazines have the distinguished appearance of being well-researched and edited by a publishing team before going to print. The same process is not generally given to online articles that can be edited an unlimited number of times after publishing or even removed from the Internet altogether if and when it suits the publisher.
So, I think you’ll agree that the printed article holds greater credibility than the article found online.
Readers are also more likely to revisit an article discovered in a printed magazine than an article they skimmed past online but didn’t have the time to read then and there.
For instance, if you give someone a hard copy of an article you’d like them to read versus sending a link to their inbox, they are more likely to set it aside and read it at a later time. In contrast, the inbox linked, or social media shared article tends to be quickly forgotten if not consumed then and there.
This gives print marketing an element of longevity that just can’t be achieved in a digital marketing setting.
Can You Back This Up?
We were curious to understand just how print marketing compared to digital marketing specifically in the element of longevity, so we commissioned a professional study to uncover just that. The research firm we worked with contacted over a thousand people and found that the average person kept a custom magazine for 21 days, consuming it periodically throughout this time.
In contrast, when the same people were sent an email newsletter, it was viewed either once on the day it was received or not at all.
With the amount of mass emails and social media posts going out every second, the most uncluttered mailbox that we own today is our physical mailbox. A fully leveraged content marketing strategy recognizes this as an opportunity to engage and capture the attention of its target audience.
The Internet is busy and overflowing with content. In print, there’s a lot less competition and that’s what makes print marketing such a valuable tool in today’s modern marketing world.
After observing this for themselves, modern marketing geniuses are turning to print more and more to convey meaningful messages to their target audience.
Hard copy magazines, newsletters and personally addressed letters have a lot more meaning in an uncluttered mailbox. Now recipients have the time and mind to engage with each piece of mail they receive away from the digital noise.
Walking away from this today, give some thought to your overall content marketing strategy. If necessary, take the opportunity to recalibrate your thinking to include print marketing. Consider all three pillars of marketing and assess if you are leveraging each effectively.
Remember to utilize digital marketing for frequency and reach, interactive marketing for culture and conversions, and print marketing for credibility and longevity.