Print media is an old mass communication tool; the term refers to text and images on paper-based media like newspapers, magazines, flyers, pamphlets, and other printed journals. Originally invented in China, the printing press, which Johannes Gutenberg further revolutionized in the 15th century, was an important invention that made books more accessible to the masses as it could efficiently print vast amounts of paper at a low cost.
Over time, an industry formed around the printing press. Not only could organizations spread their message through flyers and pamphlets, but they could also buy ad space in popular publications. Print advertising has dominated marketing budgets since then, but with the advent of the radio, TV, and more recently, the internet, its share of ad budgets has severely shrunk.
Some in the business community see print advertising as a dying marketing form, but it is still a valid and practical choice for marketing for businesses today. Print advertising may be past its glory days, but it can still pack a marketing punch in the digital age.
Is Print Media Dead?
Print has been facing a lot of headwinds in the past two decades. The internet is taking over as a source of information, news, and marketing messaging. As a result, print media companies are facing substantial budget cuts and layoffs to stay afloat.
Print is not the behemoth it once was, but it is by no means dead. Technology has also been good for the printing industry, as it has reduced its costs, increased efficiency, and improved quality (especially for images). Those who follow branding best practices will eventually realize that there is a place for print in any marketing strategy.
Big brands still use print, like Nike and Jeep; even tech giants such as Apple and Microsoft use print as part of their marketing strategies, proving its value in delivering their messages.
Why Print Works
Part of print media’s strength is that it isn’t digital. Considering the amount of time people spend on screens, print media offers a different experience. After spending all day looking at a screen at work or school, we go home for TV, and in-between, we will be checking our phones. Whether they are aware of it or not, people get screen fatigue and are more receptive to different media. Here is how print media differentiates itself in the digital age.
Stimulating the Senses
Physical pages have texture, and a smell emits when you use them, especially for the first time. The images and text create a compelling, immersive visual experience rich in nostalgia too. The sensory stimulation can give your marketing message an edge, particularly to consumers who experience the world primarily through touch and movement.
If you read something on a screen, you’re probably dealing with pop-up ads, incoming texts, and email notifications. Not only can this be distracting, but it can be intrusive. On the other hand, print media offers readers a relaxed, intimate, and deeply immersive experience.
Taking the Time
There isn’t a rush to see the latest update or notification with print media. The reader is more likely to go back to a book than a digital post, making it naturally more beneficial for marketing.
Print is widely believed to be more trustworthy to consumers than digital media. The print industry has deep traditions and a history that makes it more trustworthy and reliable. Sure, that new-age digital media company may come out with a story first, but the world still waits for the New York Times to confirm it.
Consumers live their lives on the internet; it’s where they work, learn and find entertainment. As beneficial as the internet is, it still pales in comparison to the real world. In the end, humans like to interact with what they see.
Print media like magazines, billboards, posters can be conveniently placed places consumers frequent. For example, billboards provide a captive audience during the hours they spend in their cars; they also encourage purchases as drivers are on their way to shop. Magazines in the home or waiting area give your business a permanent position in a physical space; print ads don’t disappear like digital ads.
Use Print Media for Your Marketing
Print media has come a long way and is far from being irrelevant. Rather than dismissing it, use it as a creative, compelling marketing tactic. Digital advertising is the new kid on the block, but any marketer will be wise to remember print media still has a place in consumers’ hearts, minds, and habits.