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Print: The New Opportunity

Companies have been wooed to invest more dollars in electronic marketing by the promise of comparatively low-cost campaigns that can be tracked and measured easily, leading pundits to conclude that print is a dying element of the marketing mix. The truth is that print remains important. We print all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons. It’s just that our relationship with print has changed. The marketer’s challenge is to find a way to leverage print to tap into a whole new world of opportunities.

Here are five good reasons to tap into print opportunities…

Cut through the clutter. Remember the days when you opened your mailbox and catalogs, brochures, newsletters and postcards tumbled out? Today there is simply less postal mail, so your printed pieces get noticed. Let the competition fight it out in the Inbox; you will have the prospect’s attention as he interacts with your printed collateral.

Add credibility. In a time of economic uncertainty, print collateral tells the reader that your company plans to be around for the long term. Your message is so important it deserves to be preserved in a physical form rather than simply being posted on the vaporous Internet. The consumer trusts that if you put it in print you’re going to stand by your word.

Stay connected. Customer retention was the reason targeted mailings, such as custom magazines and newsletters, were developed in the first place. More and more, people are tiring of 24/7 electronic connectivity; so make sure the prospect has your information at his fingertips when he unplugs from digital devices. Print never runs out of power.

Print makes sense. You can see and hear electronic messages at the same time; it’s like getting two exposures for the price of one. But what about the other senses? Print is the clear winner in the categories of touch, smell, and taste. We like to feel special papers and finishes, and cut out things of special interest and save them or pass them along. Smell, which is handled by the same part of the brain that handles memories and emotions, has been used to create a brand impression for years. Who can pass a scratch-and-sniff insert without scratching and sniffing? And there is no better way to get prospects to taste your product than by mailing a sample to try at their leisure.

You can’t hide from print. The same developers who introduced the electronic platforms that have revolutionized the way we deliver our messages are developing technologies to empower consumers to avoid these same messages. Think TiVo and spam filters. The mail carrier, on the other hand, has to deliver your mail. High quality, creative print pieces will capture your target audience’s interest.

Print versus e-marketing isn’t an either/or choice. Much of what we print is also available electronically. One isn’t wrong and the other right. Some information just needs the pace of print. Thanks to innovations in print technology, it has never been easier or less expensive to get high-quality printed materials in the hands of your target audience.

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