Digital marketing represents the shallow end of the pool, while print marketing helps us dive deeply into content.
By Mary Friese, Minuteman Press International
I have been studying philosophy recently and absorbing the works of the ancients as well as modern inspirations such as Eckhart Tolle. Just last week, as I scanned my social media, I noticed an ad for a new book that touted some of the elements of positive living that I’ve been incorporating as a way to greet life with refreshed happiness and motivation. I reviewed the chapters on the need to “stay present” as a means to be most efficient and most at peace, as well as the concept of resistance to what already IS as a barrier to making effective choices – a variation of the phrase “resistance is pain”.
I was sold. I wanted this book. It presented a new flavor of ancient wisdom that excited me. But when I saw it was available only as an e-book, my desire to read it plummeted. I realized how much I needed to make notations in the margins, run my fingers over particularly captivating quotes and create “dog ears” on pages upon which I have underlined passages that resonated so deeply while I was reading that I’m going to want to literally get my hands on those pages again.
Then, I saw the same sentiments in the comments section as I scanned down the promotional page for the author online. Comments included, “I love this stuff, but I wish the book was in print. Will it be printed?” Translation, I would have bought this great concept, BUT because it’s not in print, it is just not as valuable to me and I’m going to save my money.
Many of us, if we pay attention, will find that sitting down and reading on a screen leads to overstimulation and our brains tend to jump around and scan, much like kids hyped up on sugar. Digitally, most folks are relegated to the shallow end of the pool when it comes to absorbing information that we read, with skimming an irresistible tendency and a sense that it’s hard to delve comfortably into the material. It’s the shallow-end of reading for our brains and neuroscience supports this. Studies have found that we use various parts of our brains when reading from traditionally printed material as opposed to a screen, which engages the brain in a far less fulfilling way.
Jim Hill, Area Manager covering New York City and Long Island for Minuteman Press International, notes that print has an uncanny ability to hook us and encourage us to follow through to other points of connection, including those online. He explains, “Have you ever received a catalog, brochure, or post card in the mail that instructs you to go to a web site to take advantage of an offer? Done well, the direct mail piece is likely to succeed in its mission to lead you to the next step. Print marketing directs you to products and services without the over saturated results from digital marketing.”
Print provides deep engagement … Just ask a neuroscientist
Science says the more screen reading you feed your brain, the greater the tendency to lean on “non-linear” reading. This is a habit that involves light scanning of the screen and its copy that makes your eyes more likely to flash from item to item, rather than settling down to engage with the topic. The emerging problem is how well we have adjusted ourselves to screen-reading without regard to the price – the first of which is the reduced use of the deep-reading portion of our brains. In order to combat this, we must train our brains to be “bi-literate” and this can only be accomplished by balancing what we read online with printed pages that encourage deeper reading and processing.
Research reported by Ziming Liu at San Jose State University found that “when we read on screens, we spend more time browsing and scanning.” In this sense, we should take caution and realize that it is a reality that we must use the deep-reading portion of our brains – or start to lose it. Deep engagement with reading material means immersing in the copy and this is possible with print in a way that digital is limited. It’s the kind of interaction with content that requires what we have been doing for centuries as intelligent beings, engaging in deep understanding and connection through “linear” reading. Meaningful engagement with anything we want to comprehend or anything we wish others to understand and connect with requires the kind of reading for which only the printed word provides – deep, linear reading. The Internet alone simply cannot provide the same experience, nor the same connection as print has over the ages.
Print is the foundation
Nick Titus, Marketing Representative for Minuteman Press International, is wise to needs of modern marketing efforts and knows that print is still what leads the broad, multi-channel approach needed to hit your mark. The key is consistency and a purposeful effort into harnessing the persuasive power of print and using it as a means to fuel traffic to other points of contact, including ones online. Today, you simply must provide your target audience with the meaningful connection they crave along with the digital interaction that they will expect from your brand. He shares, “Wide reach is what cross-media marketing is all about. It’s about engaging your potential customer as effectively as possible and keeping your name, products and/or services in front of them for as long as possible.”
70% of Americans stated they prefer printed mail in their hands and 75% of customers say they are examining their mail pieces more closely, looking for coupons and promotions, according to a study by Accurate Leads.
David Walton, Regional Vice President for Minuteman Press International in North Carolina/South Carolina/Georgia, has years of experience as an expert hailing from the number one rated digital print design and marketing franchise; and as a result, he sees the truth about marketing efforts that work. Dave elaborates, “Print advertising is highly effective because it’s tangible. It doesn’t disappear from a computer screen or television. People are much more likely to hold onto and remember a printed advertisement. Print is essential in marketing because it leaves a lasting impression. There is also a perceived value in a printed piece rather than a digital medium.”
Digital is cheap and overused, so Print STANDS OUT – USE IT!
Swarms of companies bombard us online with digital ads and as they all compete for our attention, it becomes increasingly difficult for any of them to truly stand out. Online marketing has its place as part of a professional, targeted integrated marketing campaign, but too often businesses neglect the element of print and flood their audience with online marketing alone. In this way a strategic space is left open for intelligent print marketing campaigns and if you fill it, multiple studies show it will pay off well. Just think about the frequency that you check your email as compared to the experience of reaching into your mailbox for your REAL mail. If you are like most people, you take a moment to handle and look at every piece.
There is no rapid scrolling in real life. I will tell you that to this day, I still have a little printed card from a local hair salon that was mailed to me in 2003 because I jotted down on it the name of the hairdresser who gave my daughter’s first haircut as well as the special date – and I have referred friends there many times. There are measurable reasons that printed collateral, crafted by skilled experts in design and marketing are more likely to receive extra attention.
Our love affair with print is here to stay
Mike Maheux, multi-unit franchise owner of Minuteman Press in Burnside and Halifax, Nova Scotia, sees the substantial effects of print in action as he assists his clients with top-notch digital print, design and marketing expertise. For this reason, he makes sure that his clients are educated about the value of incorporating compelling printed representations of their businesses into a comprehensive integrated marketing strategy. Mike puts it plainly, “Studies have shown that printed materials are read and retained much more and longer than digital materials. People feel more confident with something in their hands, so incorporating top-notch printed collateral to help highlight any message you want to send is wise.”
Mike concludes, “If you wish to capture attention and make connections with your audience, you need to look good in print.”
While digital exchanges have practical value, we can’t help but scan, eyes darting from point to point as we scroll on a PC, a tablet or a phone. When we read things in print, however, our brains are wired to dive deeply into the material. Human beings have been making meaningful connections using paper and ink for centuries and the love affair with print is not cooling down.
When I think about the tattered copies of my favorite books, I no longer wonder why I didn’t simply download digital versions if I treasured them so much. I have a need to trace the words with my fingers on paper, underline passages that resonate with me and write in the margins with my own hand. When I share valued printed material with other people, my hand-written notes and associated memories are also shared – and they spark further discussion. I am comforted by the bonds I have with the printed word and it actually offends my senses if you refuse to present your message to me without it.
The takeaway lesson for business owners is, by all means, maintain a modern digital presence; but when it comes to capturing the hearts and minds of your audience, lead the way with print.
Want to bolster your brand with effective cross media marketing strategies? Find your local Minuteman Press at www.minutemanpress.com.
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