1:1 Personalization Keeps Print Relevant
It’s a wired, wired world. So why, then, in a survey conducted by Graphic Design USA, are more creatives designing for print than ever? And why did 88% of the magazine’s survey respondents say their use of print— that dull, old-fashioned medium—is holding steady or even increasing?
Print is beautiful. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your JPGs are, a beautifully printed piece will blow away your screen graphics any time. By definition, 1:1 print personalization must be printed on a digital press, however, which makes some marketers nervous. But there is no need. Digital print quality has improved by leaps and bounds over the last few years. In fact, if you took a series of well printed digital and offset pieces and viewed them side by side, do you think you could pick out the ones that were produced digitally? Think again. Digital quality has become so good that it would be very difficult for the average marketer (or consumer) to tell the difference.
With print, you get another benefit, as well. When you communicate with people by email, recipients can’t see beyond the subject line unless they actually open the message. With print, you can communicate on the outside of the envelope or insert the pieces into clear envelopes so that recipients can experience the impact of the piece before they even open the envelope.
Print plays well with others. It’s true that sometimes print alone won’t meet your marketing objectives, such as when going to a young adult audience. But sometimes, electronic media won’t cut it alone, either. Today’s complex marketing environment often requires multiple touch points, allowing marketers to build on and reinforce the message. Take, for example, personalized URLs (PURLs). By using PURLs, marketers can send out personalized print pieces that grab the recipients’ attention, then encourage them to log into their own personalized Web pages that reinforce the message. Or salespeople can create personalized follow-up brochures after prospects leave the showroom, reminding visitors of the products they preferred and offering them a personalized incentive to return.
Print influences buying decisions. Marketers once thought that, as e-commerce became mainstream, printed catalogs would fade away like cowboys riding into the sunset. But recent research continues to indicate otherwise. According to a United States Postal Service/comScore Networks, Inc., survey, online consumers who received a printed catalog from any given retailer were nearly twice as likely to make an online purchase at that retailer’s website. The reason? Consumers seek print when they’re ready to buy. Combine this with the power of personalization (communicating based, not on generic references to products and offers, but on each individual recipient’s past spending patterns) and you have incredible marketing power.
Print is credible. Open your email. How many scams do you receive every day? Don’t know? Check your spam filter. It only takes a few dollars and an email address to put a scam together, and it’s increasingly difficult to tell today’s scams from the real thing. Conversely, print still has the appearance of greater authenticity. Combine that with personalization (unlike spam, you don’t send out five million 1:1 print pieces, hoping to hit a few gullible takers) and you really have a piece people think they can trust. The fact is, print is as relevant today as it was centuries ago. That relevance is now heightened with modern technology like 1:1 print. As such, print remains a critical component in today’s fast-paced, “what’s in it for me?” world. And while e-marketing is a necessary component in our multi-channel marketing environment, 1:1 print brings benefits that electronic media just can’t touch.
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