Home » Business » Digital Transformation » How Print is Adapting to Digital
Who’d have thought those glossy magazines and billboards could ever appear drab? But that’s what has happened to print marketing through the 21st century, as dynamic digital has stolen the limelight in the way we do business.
However, it’s easy to overlook the vital role print still plays, represented by the fact that less than half of consumers will respond to an email, while 80 per cent will give an immediate reply to direct mail.
The dynamic resonates with modern marketing: True Impact, a Canadian neuro-marketing company, finds that print is 70 per cent more effective regarding brand recall among individuals contacted by snail mail as opposed to its intangible, lightning fast successor. Print advertising is also outdoing the web in terms of the bottom line, delivering a rosier ROI.
However, when 16 million consumers still exist perfectly happily without basic online skills, it’s clear that companies driving for a completely digital future risk losing out. Ideally, a mix of the two worlds is needed if firms are to stay competitive in today’s markets.
Cloud technology means that firms can cut the haulage out of the frame, instead printing locally to maximise efficiency.
Print houses are linked globally through online platforms, allowing organisations to produce where items are needed and at short notice, which in turn allows physical marketing materials to be created and delivered in a shorter time; a delivery chain that once took weeks or maybe months, has thus been reduced to a few days.
Marketers are seeing print in a different light. Traditional processes can be streamlined infinitesimally, enabling firms to respond quicker to market fluctuations with tailored solutions that minimise wastage.
Digital is also being used to enrich the value of print, making content reach into the real world and grab consumers by the hand, or at least the smartphone.
Mobiles can now read quick response (QR) codes, leading otherwise unenlightened users to mines of online content. QR codes can thus link consumers to vital resources, driving value and brand loyalty. These days they are commonplace and used to great creative effect throughout the advertising world.
In 2014, the car manufacturer Ford capitalised through a print ad for its new Explorer model which allowed users to see the vehicle in action, interact and discover more about it through a QR code.
Marketing has taken on an all-new cutting edge, as print and digital have combined to form a creative hybrid.
This has allowed Volkswagen to put the first ever ‘test drive’ into a print advertisement with a three-page map that enables smartphone users to sit behind the wheel; the interaction is supported by an app which vibrates the handset if the ‘car’ wheels threaten to brush the edges of the road.
Similar technology has been leveraged by firms such as Finnish telecommunications company, Sonera, which fused an interactive board game into an advertisement, and fashion retailer C&A which hooked print ads up to the Facebook accounts of its magazine readers.
One wholly understandable problem in today’s digital marketplace is that consumers are becoming adept at zoning out from the constant bombardment of slick advertising. Either that, or they avoid it altogether with the help of ad-blocking technology.
In the chaos, it turns out print advertising’s voice is still being heard. In a modern world in which communication is sterilised into ones and zeros, the tactile qualities of the old school approach have rendered print something of a beacon that we are hard-wired to respect and connect with.
Far from being redundant, print is proving itself as fundamental to marketing alchemists who are committed to creating advertising gold.