The world has changed drastically over the past few decades. Technology is evolving at an exponential rate and retailers must make decisions on how to best keep up with new trends. As a result, many retailers have decided that it is time to discontinue their catalogs and move to a completely digital world. Besides the fact that print is universal, original, and part of the human condition, here are just eight simple reasons why print should still play a vital role in your marketing strategy.
8.) Be proud, stand out of the crowd. A 2013 article published by Forbes says that there are at least “102,728 e-commerce retailers in the United States that are generating at least $12,000 per year in revenue.” There are so many internet based companies out there, why wouldn’t you want to stand out in other realms of media? Differentiate yourself and drive more traffic to your website.
7.) When we care, we always share. We can learn a lot from Mary-Kay. It’s about passing the materials on from one person to the other. Sometimes it’s that catalog with the beautiful glossy finish that carries in your purse and ends up on all of the desks of your coworkers. The last time I checked, people weren’t handing around tablets. Print has a way of traveling from destination to destination—from the bathroom, to the bedroom, to the car and back again. It opens up the opportunity to be in front of your consumer all the time and in many aspects of their lives. You just never know when someone is going to be bored and reach for the closest piece of print.
6.) Don’t be plain, use their brain. Studies have increasingly shown over the past decade how ugly of a beast multi-tasking can be. On average, those reading a physical piece of material, such as a book, magazine, or (duh!) a catalog have a better chance of both retention and comprehension. This is not to mention that they are less likely to accidently find someone else’s brand from surfing through your catalog than they would by surfing the internet. Be smart. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of how each type of media affects the brain and use it to your advantage.
5.) Don’t be cheap and run with sheep. The problem trying to save money by staying completely online, as it seems so many retailers are doing, is simply that in order to get a return on investment, you must first make the investment. Sometimes daring to be different and being willing to make the investment to do so will make all the difference in the world. Think one time purchaser versus lifelong customer. It may not seem like a huge return at first, but over time, trust us, it is.
4.) Make new trails to drive your sales. We have heard over again and we have written blogs about how catalogs drive traffic online–see blog entry How to Cultivate Lifetime Value Customers. Consider the following passage from the article Print Drives Online Sales from chooseprint.org: “…a study by the Direct Marketing Association shows that 78% of consumers react to direct mail immediately; when they receive mail from a brand that they’re interested in, 44% visit the brand’s website and 34% search online for more information about the product.” Print drives online traffic and eventually you make sales. Why wouldn’t we want to invest in new pathways for our customers?
3.) Make a stand for your brand. Branding is effectively communicating with your consumer in order to create awareness. This would include both brand awareness and self-awareness. Likewise, branding is also effectively creating a sense of identity. Again, this would include both brand identity and self-identity. From that very first moment when someone decided to begin communicating on walls, print has been not just the first means, but the most effective means, of self-awareness, identification, and communication. It’s like thirdeyeprinting.com explains in the post Benefit from Effective Branding: “The sensory components of printed materials engage readers on an emotional level, connecting customers to your brand in a way electronic marketing can’t match.” If it passes through their hands multiple times, if it becomes a part of their environment, if it speaks to them, if it feels nice to the touch, your brand will likely communicate to your customer more intently through print than it will online.
2.) Have a blast, make it last. Your consumers are likely to spend more time looking at your catalog than your website. Studies show that our attention spans online is not that good and even if it appears that someone is spending a long time on your site, truth be told that with multi-engine-browsing available there is no real way to know. While a visit to your webpage may be short lived, the shelf-life your catalog would have based upon the nature of what it is, provides much greater longevity.
1.) Too many choices mean too many voices. How many times have you said or been told that you need to be careful believing everything you read online? The problem is that there are too many experts. On the internet anybody can write about anything for anyone resulting in a deprecation of trust and reliability of the information provided. People are much more likely to believe what they read when it comes from a piece of print. This creates an element of trust between consumer and brand. Trust is the first step towards a life-long relationship. Again, you are trying to find life-time values customers.
When looking at these eight principles, think about what it means to brand to your consumer and how that is most effective to human beings, not just as we are now, but as we were and as we will be in the future. Think communication, trust, longevity, originality, creativity, and individuality. All of these things make up the human condition and all of these things can be achieved through print. Good luck!