Digital marketing is all the rage. Across industry sectors, it is becoming a norm and overshadowing print media. Although the shift is obvious, we still have not bid farewell to the print. Choosing between it and digital tools is a false dichotomy. Yes, they are fundamentally different mediums of communication, but there are no valid reasons to pick only one and forgo opportunities that the other offers.
After all, modern customers interact will a slew of media, both offline and online. There are many points of convergence you can explore and make work to your advantage. Hence, smart strategies are rooted in the integrative approach to marketing. You should facilitate the union of the two and increase the returns on both ends. This can give you a powerful competitive edge in the crowded marketing landscape.
Digital marketing is hailed as the tidal wave of the future, which is already upon us. That is rather exciting and all, but we must separate the facts from (science) fiction. When figuring out the angle of attack, it all comes down to market research and identifying your target market. If you cater to baby boomers who still read newspapers, then a social media campaign is likely to fall short.
The basic rule of marketing is simple: if it works, it works. How your message is wrapped and presented matters a great deal, yet your decisions should be guided by facts and figures, not hype and fads. The best shot you got is to achieve strategic balance and be where your customers are. To pull it off, there must be a clear plan, realistic objectives, and a high level of coordination between departments.
Two sides of the medal
First of all, digital marketing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Just like print, it has its pros and cons. The key to combining the two is in grasping them. In a nutshell, let us put it this way. While digital is low-cost and low-impact, the print is the opposite: high-cost and high-impact. These differences stem from different nature of the digital and print. The former is passive and the latter is active.
For instance, when a customer receives direct mail, that action prompts a reaction. One cannot just click on something else and ignore it completely. Print media is always proactive and tactile, which is to say the psychological and sensory impact is greater. That is why we see even digital brands like Airbnb use print in the form of travel magazines. Many other corporations are doing something similar, which suggests that print marketing is alive and well.
More than two billion coupons get redeemed every year and millions of print catalogs are mailed to people. Indeed, direct mail, albeit slowly declining, accounts for a big portion of omnichannel marketing efforts. We also have trends like variable printing that open up new possibilities with the medium. So, like it or not, print is still an integral part of overall marketing strategies and individual campaigns.
On the same page
There is something inherently warm and tangible right at the core of offline promotion. For example, it is clear that consumers like print material. They are a proven way to increase conversions and consumer satisfaction. Therefore, companies take advantage of them to show that they care about people they are trying to sell to. They use catalogs that inform customers and help them reach better purchase decisions.
Physically turning the pages and seeing vibrant colors fosters a different kind of experience that browsing online pages cannot fully emulate. The best part is yet to come: namely, you can blend the two approaches by including calls-to-action in your catalogs and other pieces of print media. Some businesses recognize the opportunity and offer people a chance to subscribe to email campaigns. Consulting experts from the industry, such as Leafcutter, can help you choose supporting tactic that enable you to guide customers from one experience to another.
The strongest link
Furthermore, brick-and-mortar businesses tend to heavily rely on in-store displays and face-to-face events and that is totally fine. Yet, they should also make the most of one-on-one conversations to drive online participation and engagement. All in all, you should always encourage people to come to your website, storefront, blog, or social media profile. You can offer a small reward in return or a chance to win something big.
Likewise, there is a possibility to employ personalized URLs and QR codes. They provide you with deeper insights into who your customers are and how they interact with your promotional material. You can monitor the media crossover and evaluate how much value it adds. As an added benefit, you obtain data on your customers, data that can be used to fine-tune your campaigns. The beauty of it is that QR codes can be printed basically on anything and scanned with all modern smartphones.
So, it is time to awaken to the reality. We do not see print leaving the marketing ecosystem in the foreseeable future. To make the most bang for your buck, take every chance you get to bridge the gap between the offline and online. Seek feedback and use digital as a launch board for the print and the other way around. Show a human face of your business and do not just hide behind the cyber façade. Explore all the marketing avenues that allow you to get in front of people.
Deliver a killer combo
Digital may have taken the center stage, but print is far from a relic of the bygone era. So, think twice before cutting the print marketing budget. Understand the fundamental differences between the two as well as the fact that they are all but mutually exclusive. In fact, the two staple methods can have a fruitful marriage, working hand in hand and catapulting you towards set goals.
To make it happen, determine what works and what doesn’t. Keep track of performance indicators across all touch points and drive customers from one medium to the other. Cultivate strong and meaningful relationships using the best tools at your disposal. Maximize your marketing dollars.