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The renaissance of print in the digital age

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Technology has become a fundamental element in our day-to-day lives and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change – if anything it’s about to take up even more time and space. Communications, information and interactions are now shared between the ‘off-line world’ and the ‘screen world’.

Following the societal trend over the last decade, marketers have exploited the potential of digital communications through smartphones and social media. Having moved significant chunks of their budgets to digital channels, it seemed that print was becoming part of a glorious, old story to nostalgically smile at in twenty years’ time.

But as fashion lives through cycles, so does advertisement and marketing – following customers’ preferences and tastes, but also testing new ideas to see if they prove effective.

Indeed, recently we are experiencing a revival in popularity what some might call ‘old school’ tactics, most notably in the use of print.

Why is that? APS Group’s new report asked leading marketing consultants and practitioners their opinions on how things have changed and what the future of print will be.

Apparently, print seems to be a good antidote to digital. Indeed, print gains more attention and transfers messages in a more focused manner than digital, which allows the person to pause, concentrate and deal with the subject. Thanks to the fast-moving and untouchable experiences that online offers, print has gained a romantic connotation and people feel like they have a more tangible connection to it. As the Chief Marketing Officer at Schwan-STABILO Cosmetics Dagmar Chlosta explains: “With decreasing attention spans, in a world swamped with information – relevant and irrelevant – printed messages can become an island of serenity in a sea of upheaval.”

Moreover, even if “Digital is a much sexier place to be when it comes to tracking” due to its greater ability to demonstrate a return of investments, as highlighted by Melissa Pursley, Vice president of Marketing and product development at Hoosier Lottery. Marketers have been taking a second look at print due to several scandals that have hit the digital marketing industry.

Indeed, comScore found out that customers trust in digital has affected their interest in what they see: 54% of online display ads were not being seen by anyone. On the other end JICmail found that each piece of mail that entered a home is revisited 3.8 times on average.

In conclusion, an over-obsession with the online world meant opportunities offline may have been ignored. Yes, customer behaviour has changed, but it hasn’t to the extent marketing budgets have.

As Thomas Barta – co-author of The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader and former McKinsey partner – says: “It’s not about online versus offline – it’s about reaching people where they are.” Tim Bond, Head of Insight at the DMA, adds: “It’s now about experimenting, measuring and understanding what customers want, [as] data has changed the game for everyone – and the realisation is that it’s not about print or digital. It’s about print and digital.”

If you are curious to better understand the reasons behind print’s resurgence, have a look at the APS Group’s latest report ‘Time to fix your marketing mix? The renaissance of print explained’.

The icing on the cake: for an extra special experience you can request your print copy of the report printed by Dornans with traditional presses from 19th Century.

Hear more from the DMA