It seems to be the way in these modern times that we eschew analog processes for more digitalised forms of data transfer and dissemination. In terms of printing, there are some notable changes that have occurred in business; due to the rapid expansion of what is often referred to as the ‘information highway’ – leading people to perhaps believe that this medium has a limited life-span. However, nothing could be further from the truth. This article explains why print still matters in the digital age.

Continued demand for physical media

There exists somewhat of a perception that people no longer use traditional print formats, especially when it comes to marketing collateral. The existence of thriving businesses that rely on the demand for printed paraphernalia, for example, these printing services in Melbourne cbd, shows that physical media is very much ‘alive and kicking’. Despite the preponderance of content from social media (and other online networking channels), we will never even come close to ‘doing away’ with paper and ink completely.

Statistics show that 45 percent of Australians still prefer to receive their marketing materials via print – in the form of catalogues and flyers – as opposed to via email*. There is much to be said for the tangible aspect of traditional forms of media (you know those things that you can actually hold and touch). This is especially true when it comes to small business and that personalised level of outreach. Just take Email Direct Marketing (EDM) campaigns as a prime example. The point here is that intended recipients can simply click away from an email in their inbox, a lot of the time they don’t even open them and/or they go straight to the spam folder!

The aspect of readability

There are practical scientific and psychological reasons why most audiences respond better to print formats over digital. Even younger generations (yes, those millennials) find more engagement in printed material than computerised alternatives. This may sound surprising, but the fact is that physical text (as compared to text on a device’s screen) is more readily absorbed by the brain. Research in neuromarketing unequivocably supports that people prefer paper over screens. Basically, print is just all that more readable!

Printed material delivers clarity, cutting through the white noise in today’s busy world. It still offers the most credible way to target an audience, and is associated with a degree of reliability that social and other online forms of information never can quite measure up. Have you ever noticed how easily the central branding message of a Facebook post can be diluted and misconstrued (often by unhelpful commentary) and interrupted by irritating advertising? Printed paraphilia is not open to the same real-time scrutiny, making it so much more solid and reputable. And, that’s one of the primary reasons why print copy will never be surpassed.

Traditional and electronic formats unite

Let’s make one thing clear; it’s actually not about a choice between print and digital mediums in terms of marketing – but, rather a symbiosis of methodology. Used to the right effect, various forms of electronic and physical marketing campaigns each have their own unique attributes, viable applications, and receptive audiences. The modern approach is to diversify, matching the variable conditions of each market segment in times of rapid flux to maintain that all-important dialog with the consumer.

Whilst it is true that marketing trends come and go, the crux of branding in written form will always be consistent. Just think about the basics: logos, business cards, flyers etc. These will always exist as a mainstay, complementing a florid and constantly evolving mix of such things as social media advertising and other forms of electronic collateral. Digital and traditional marketing trends are not mutually exclusive; rather they are best applied in unison to provide a multi-layered and all-encompassing approach to really ‘seal the deal’. Print is an integral part of this process.

Progression and integration

How exciting is 3-D printing? This refers to the process of manufacturing a solid object from a digital file, for instance via Computerised Aided Design (CAD). 3-D printing is achieved by printing layers of material (thin horizontal cross-sections of the final design) layered successively to create a final product. The actual printing process involves a 3D printer and a selection of materials to best suit the project (this is not just limited to paper but includes alternatives such as plastics, resins, metals, ceramic, glass, etc).

This is just one of the cutting-edge ways in which the print medium continues to innovate. Other multi-directional forms of print developments include Quick Response (QR) codes (a type of barcode that links to information on a smartphone or other device) which seamlessly integrate printed content with complementary digital material, in a highly targeted information offering. All in all, print is exceedingly progressive.

Print is perennial

Whilst it’s true that the contemporary office space has now become largely paper-free, and that other technologies have emerged (for example, ebooks) there are still some things that just cannot be replaced. Print is absolutely one of those things. Whether it’s providing readable and credible documents, formulating tangible marketing materials, functioning in tandem with digital information or taking on an entirely new form as a pioneering technological advancement, the medium of print is an intrinsic component of the human experience.

*Source: the Australia Post Consumer Survey, 2014.

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