It seems that futurologists (that’s a real thing) are continually asking us for patience. Gurus keep telling us that real change is just around the corner. From energy pills to robotic household helpers, the 21st century was supposed to be populated by energy-efficient, helpful technology.
Some tech has arrived and made a real difference. The smartphone and tablet revolution has made lightweight processing and crystal-clear graphics available at your fingertips. This in turn has fed a revolution in the way we interact with each other.
Social media has made it easier for the average man (or woman) on the street to engage with friends, family and even strangers in real time. The social media landscape has also revolutionised the way that organisations interact with their customers and partners. This network of interconnected sites has stimulated conversation, stirred debate and fostered real word connections (and increased the popularity of cats – we are all cat people now).
The Internet and new delivery channels have made useful information accessible at the click of a mouse. New technology is now reaching the mainstream that will allow the everyman to access the vast databanks of the Internet at the blink of an eye (literally).
So why is the non-pixelated world of print marketing still so popular?
On every bus, in every train, there are those who sit quietly, bucking the tablet and Kindle trend with a good book. Pamphlets and brochures still reach our overflowing mailboxes.
Print marketing is still gamely fighting the good fight against a rising tide of digital delivery.
It’s not only the users of public transport that enjoy printed matter. According to a 2012 Nielsen survey undertaken in the United States, affluent consumers are “avid readers of newspapers, trade journals, travel and home-related magazines.” These are people who, according to the survey, are “adopters of high-end technology like digital recorders, video game consoles, smartphones and tablet devices.” They could very easily go the digital route, but they choose print.
We’ve discussed this at Proof Perfect, and the conclusion that we’ve come to is simple. Print marketing is a perfect marriage of convenience and cost. A newspaper or even a well-designed corporate brochure carries information that is relevant and easily accessible to its target audience.
Print marketing doesn’t require signing up to a newsfeed or browsing a particular interest area.
It’s low tech at its best – open the cover, turn the page and the information you require is at your fingertips. You can ‘like’ a well-written article or piece of marketing copy by passing it on in the physical world. Statistics show that pass-on rates for printed material are still extremely good. An average of three people sees each printed product. By pointing out an article or marketing message, you are sharing in the real world with real people. You can cut our special offers or articles of interest without resorting to online tools or accepting ‘push’ advertising. You can have fun with a newspaper.
Of course this is a gross simplification; there are other socio political and economic factors at play in many global markets that make newspapers so popular.
For myself I believe that there is a certain mystique to the book, newspaper or even well-written piece of marketing collateral. It’s the reason that no one in my family will accompany me to a second-hand bookstore. I can lose myself for hours in the sights of leather-bound covers, the smell of books or the sounds of pages turning.
Human beings are both visual and tactile thinking organisms; we are excited by sensory experience.
A Kindle can deliver the content, and in certain places and at certain times is a very useful tool. However, for some, it is a simple delivery mechanism, devoid of soul. Real ink, rather than the virtual type, is still alive and kicking. That’s why print marketing is still such an effective tool today.
By the way, all of us at Proof Perfect are waiting with bated breath for that robotic helper. My own experience is that Robo Helper Lite™ aka the Roomba is more useful as a cat transportation device than actually reducing the time spent picking up hairballs. However, I must admit that distracting the cat does allow me some free time to settle down with a good old-fashioned book.