Print is not dead.

I think I might just about lose it if I hear it again.

People are looking for you. Print marketing helps them find you.

I was talking to a magazine sales account executive the other day at the Apple Store. We were both buying new iPhones and traded business cards and both remarked about the industry…she said I needed to come in and give her sales girls a swift kick in the butt and a motivational margarita meeting because they had no idea how to overcome the statement: “but print is dead”.

As a design director, I work with dozens of different companies a year. That being said, there are different industries that use print more, utilize it less, and age groups that hold onto print shorter or longer. But there is one thing in common — EVERY age group still reads, looks at, and holds onto PRINT.

I’m not telling you to stop digital advertising. That would be like telling you to change the oil in your car without changing the filter. The two go hand in hand. But here’s the deal: people need to FIND your business, and the best way for them to find you is good ‘ole traditional print advertising.

A great example are restaurants. I work with a lot of restaurants and the biggest complaint is that “I have a nice website”. I look at them and I’m a little peeved and irritated and confused. So what if you have a nice restaurant. What the hell is a kolache anyway? I’ve only been in Texas for two and a half months and I’ve never heard of a kolache before, so how would I even know to go online and look for the nearest kolache shop? I wouldn’t even know how to spell it. Sounds like a spring roll…I don’t feel like eating that anyway.

To my dismay, a kolache (after a bit of Texan teasing) is NOT even close to a spring roll. But my point is that I might have had a different feeling had I received a print piece that had a picture, or maybe a coupon, or something indicating that it’s worth my time to go to the website and see if I want one.

According to CMO Council (Chief Marketing OfficerCouncil World Wide):

  • Twice as many consumers act on direct mail versus email…and they do it right away.
  • Direct mail has the highest rate of success in new customer acquisition at 34% compared with other marketing channels. February 2012  85

I can keep cutting and pasting, but you get the picture. In fact, these statistics don’t even come close to some of the other stastics that were googled suggesting that just under half of consumers report that they visit a website AFTER receiving print marketing materials, and that people who receive print marketing keep items on hand for future reference (in comparison to the emails that get deleted to make inbox room). Consumers TRUST print more, and is actually preferred by the majority. They’re fun, engaging, offer credibility, are tangibile and make your business seem more real, BUT…it’s also more expensive.

One recommendation is to make sure you use targeted marketing and in fact…as a restaurant, perhaps even geo-targeted marketing. I have a restaurant menu magazine that uses both: it engages millennials within a 6 mile radius of their living quarters. What does that mean? When I work with restaurants, I distribute the print magazine to one particular area, and I only solicit restaurants within a 6 miles radius of the apartment complexes (where most millennials live). I have 6 different menu magazines…each one has different restaurants (because a millennial is unlikely to drive 45 minutes to the south side of the city for a kolache).

There are reasons to target and in fact, geo-target. It’s cheaper and the results are a little higher. That means you get more bang for your buck.

The fact is, print marketing is still around. Go on vacation and just browse the number of pamphlets a business puts out and you’ll start to understand just how much money is spent on quality print. Print still works. Print still puts your business in front of others who may not know who you are. What you do with that customer once they find you? That’s up to you.

Let’s face it: if you skip on the advertising altogether because ‘social media is free’, then I feel a little bad for your business. I probably don’t know who you are, and I probably never will.