Do we still need traditional printed marketing materials in a digital world?

woman in front of computer screen photographed from behind

Traditional ‘v’ Digital is a hot topic in the digital There is no doubt that thanks to smartphones and mobile devices, speedy access to information has revolutionised how we consume data. Today, over four billion people are active internet users with 3.7 billion of those accessing information using their mobile and 3.5 billion regularly using social media.

Social media and other online tools have become the quickest and easiest way to spread key messages and reach a targeted audience in a short space of time. Digital marketing is certainly the most convenient and cost-effective solution to achieving your objectives, however printed marketing materials are certainly a force not to be reckoned with. Printed marketing materials are drastically under-estimated in our fast-moving digital world; however, research shows that over a third of customers who receive direct mail in the post said they would try a business for the first time as a direct result.

The power of print

Printed marketing materials are incredibly useful for businesses who want their audiences to consume the information for longer. A recent study found that consumers are more likely to scan digital information and not engage with the content, whereas printed marketing materials are more likely engage the reader. However, a business’ use of marketing tools heavily relies on their consumers, product and the image they want to portray, for example luxury brands are more likely to use high quality print marketing material to match their image and identity.

John Hall of Forbes recently wrote that print marketing is more reliable than any digital marketing tool with 56% of consumers finding printed marketing materials to be the most trustworthy compared with online sources. Growing up we held a great deal of trust in printed materials; we used books to study from and relied on these to expand our knowledge and this never leaves us.

Digital dexterity

More recently, ‘fake news’ has played a prevalent role in the credibility of online marketing, the same goes for click bait, which often means that users do not get the whole truth or the full story. However, the use of video in marketing content has proven to increase the level of trust between the consumer and the brand. Google found that 60% of users would change their mind on an issue after they watched a video.  With Facebook getting 8 million daily video views and Snapchat holding the record for the most daily video views, to the tune of 10 million, it is easy to see why using video as part of your marketing plan is something that all businesses should seriously consider.  With the ability to reach a mass audience using such variety and creativity, it is safe to say that video is evolving digital marketing.

The use of infographics and videos is becoming more and more common for online marketers, in fact Cisco predicted that by 2021, video will represent 82% of all online content.  It has also been reported that 40% of millennials are more likely to trust content if it includes video.  This is definitely not a tool to be ignored.

Striking the balance

Printed marketing materials account for one third of a business’ potential reach, which is not something to be ignored and companies should consider focusing one third of their time on campaigns developing printed materials.   However, more than three quarters of businesses use both print marketing materials and online tools, finding this maximises the response rate as well as offering the greatest rate of return on their investment.

Like John Hall suggested, a company’s understanding on how their customers communicate and absorb information is vital to any marketing campaign success, therefore developing a robust and targeted strategy is key.  This is what determines which traditional printed marketing materials and digital tools will be the most effective communication channels for a business.

So, despite the rapid growth in digital use, the answer is yes.  There is still a need for traditional printed marketing materials.  But what is most important is strategy.  Strategy that drives the use of the right communication methods and a blended Traditional ‘V’ Digital approach that is designed to work together and deliver consistent and engaging messaging to your target market.