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Dove Direct Print & Marketing Blog - Can Print Survive the Future?

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Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today’s post, “Can Print Survive the Future?” re-examines the intrinsic value of printed collateral. Access to printed materials offers the highest value of trust, which unlike its digital counterparts, cannot be deleted, blocked, or hacked. This post examines the value and future of print across a wide range of instances where print rises above the rest.

As the so-called masters of digital communications, along with the wizards of IoT (internet of things), are performing carnival-like barking sales pitches, aimed at promoting all things digital, changes are in the air. Societal evolution is dictating that there is a tangential element that is moving in parallel, but away from the ‘all things digital’ mantra. It is the element of trust. In fact, the idea of trust, and moreover who, or what should earn that esteemed value of trust became a blueprint statement the U.S monetary authority decided to stamp on every dollar bill denomination, i.e., “In God We Trust.”

Print can now also stake a claim of its own regarding marketing and news communication validity. Not to confuse a spiritually grounded statement to one of something inherent in the earth-based human existence, and that said, based on new and evolving data, print can now make the claim; “In Print We Trust.”

Thanks in no small part to the incessant clamoring consuming social media and bot intrusions disseminating falsehoods across the web, print now stands at the entrance guarding the doors of truth. And it is also important to remember that today’s print technology is now digital from the ground up, however, that is where the comparison between print and digital split.

Paper-Based Reading Excels

According to a Kinder-Medien-Studie’ (IFH Consumer Barometer), paper-based reading excels among children. In addition, the report states that paper-based reading is of supreme importance to children ages topping out at 13. In fact, the late Donald Byrd, Grammy award winning jazz trumpeter and producer, had a penchant for previewing his latest album efforts among children, and took note of their responses while his music was playing. Byrd always said, “Children will let you know the truth.” Further, the value of a child’s mind is also documented in Biblical references: Mathew 18:3 states ”Truly I tell you," He said, "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Bottom line, print collateral has effectively garnered high value in another target segment other than just the adult market, therefore, marketers and brands need to pay attention to children’s perceptions.

Print provides a sensory experience in the form of books, catalogues, magazines and newspapers etc. not found in the digital world. That sensory experience is one that pushes print to the forefront of the communication model. Bolstering print’s sensory experiences is the October 2017 Bitkom Survey results pointing to the fact that nearly two-thirds of the respondents stating they dislike reading e-books. And to that end, e-books numbers are trending downward.

Speaking of books, this Bitkom survey also pointed out that relatives and friends tend to make book recommendations a higher priority in their communications about printed books versus e-books. Further, another positive print attribute that often is lost among most is that a piece of printed collateral can be shared, borrowed, or previewed via the library. E-books fail in that perspective.

Print and the News Cycle

Digital news communications are driven by speed. The speed at which a piece of news is digitally distributed across the web and social media channels appears to be the most sought after prerequisite for most news organizations. The issue with speed, is just that…speed. As we have learned over the past few years, news stories and the consequent reporting of those stories seldom if ever are a one-shot expose. News stories must be thoroughly researched, not to mention evolve over time, and as a result, speedy stories often fail to build confidence in the communication mediums.

As a result of digital ‘speed,’ there’s a misnomer floating around targeting the newspaper world that suggests newspaper stories are seldom ‘up-to-the-minute’ and fail the customization test. However, newspaper readership is based on confidence that the stories are well researched, which makes print a trusted partner to deliver accuracy. The newspaper reporting process takes time to confirm what is really true, which is why we are seeing a resurgence of the New York Times, Washington Post and others.

In addition, print software solutions are now providing the print industry with the capability to produce highly personalized mass catalogues, not to mention various digital templates that can be inserted into the print production process. Print’s future is further enhanced with the various automated processes based on real time data acquisition, which in turn, will also provide more targeted print collateral, for producers and publishers alike.

Print Offers Strong Credibility

Qualitative communication mediums are now under more public scrutiny, with digital posts leading the way of being consistently questioned against fact based research. When we look at digital advertising numbers for 2017, for the first time in history, online banner advertising has eclipsed television spot advertising. We also know that Mobile ad growth is rising quicker than all other mediums, to the tune of a 75% increase in 2016, and continuing to climb.

However, with all the aforementioned growth numbers of online and television advertising, consumers continue to be drawn to print advertising above those two mediums. Over and above the trustworthiness of print advertising, is the issue of online ads being blocked or algorithm-ed out of the consumers view based on the provider’s choices and not the consumer’s. In fact, according to Nielsen and brand eins, television and internet advertising generally speaking, are perceived to be twice as annoying and ignorable as print advertising.

We also concur that print advertising is not as readily accessible or viewable in mass numbers as compared to TV or the web.  However, in the scheme of advertising attractiveness, printed advertising collateral is the preferred choice among most of the masses.  In fact, among online consumer purchases, over 85% of online purchase decisions are made via printed collateral advertising.

Ad creation expenditure for printed collateral is above that of what is perceived to be online’s foray into efficient ad investment costs. “Perceived” is the key word media experts seem to be flocking to in regards to determining cost comparisons between print and digital advertising. At this juncture it is important to remember the idea of cost versus price. Yes, it may cost less to produce a digital online ad versus a piece of printed collateral. But at what cost to the advertiser?  That said, the personalized printed piece delivered in a direct mail campaign generates twice the response rates when compared to the cumulative number of digital channels combined!

Not only will print survive the future, print is already experiencing a resurgence, much to the astonishment of media experts and marketing gurus.  When you dig into the real numbers generated by automated data results, print's effectiveness is on clear display.  Print is alive and well, and generating more conversion dollars than any other medium.  Therefore, investing in printed advertising collateral is  among the most efficient ad vehicles out there, and really could be sitting at the very top. When it comes to ROI, print is the go-to medium to consider.

The Net-Net

If your business advertising model fails to include print as an option, you could be missing sales in terms of conversion rates. After all, regardless of the advertising medium, it is about converting prospects into customers. Happy Strategic Marketing Development Using Print!

Let’s have a conversation about printing, print software, transactional documents, variable digital printing, brand equity and unified marketing collateral during our next Open House. We invite you to join us on Thursday, March 29th, 2018, from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce your costs, and maximize your organization’s printing, letter shop and mailing capabilities. Dove Direct does have an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices that will save you time and money. And, if you bring us your files, we will create a demo file for you. For more information call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Dove Direct, your Atlanta based print and mail solutions provider offers organizations end-to-end data, printing and mailing solutions: Data Management, Variable Digital Printing, LetterShop and Fulfillment, Fully Automated MLOCR Presort Bureau, Marketing and Production Management Support and Secure Data Life Cycle Management.

If you don't want to wait for the Open House, you can reach Dove Direct today by calling 404-629-0122 or use the contact form for Dove Direct.

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Leland Hicks is the CTO of MatterMax Media, a digital marketing agency that provides business strategy, web design, social media management and training.  He can be reached at lahicks@mattermaxmedia.com