Print advertising has been the topic of conversation among doubters who claim that the industry is headed towards dissolution and consumers no longer will be open to or influenced by print advertising. Many of these stories stem from uncertainty in a high-stakes game. With the advent and mass adaptation of digital mediums, business owners and industry experts are uncertain over how this new medium impacts the ones that came before it. These questions about whether print advertising is dead arise not from data indicating its demise but from uncertainty over digital marketing’s impact on print advertising and the high risk of guessing wrong.
Naturally, we have seen a decline in print advertising consumption since the advent of digital. Let’s not jump ship just yet, however, if we keep in mind a simple fact of consumption: More marketing mediums and the same amount of time to consume them. Something will have to adjust to make room for the new avenue.
When assessing any marketing medium’s effectiveness, we turn to the consumer. In a recent survey conducted by Marketingsherpa, consumers were found to trust print advertising more than any other type of ad.
Trust is a crucial factor companies attempt to secure to ensure consumer buy-in. Ads drop severely in effectiveness if consumers don’t trust the information they present.
Perhaps one of the reasons consumers trust print over digital is the oversaturation of digital. As Brandon Ortiz, former Sr. Director of Digital, Social & Content Marketing at Salesforce and present VP of Content Marketing at Celonis shares with Forbes, “The ubiquity of digital media has given print media a strange new power. Think of how special it is to get a written letter as opposed to an email. If you’re trying to target a C-level audience, forget email — their assistant will just hit delete. But if you take your e-book, print it as a nice brochure and mail it to the exec’s office, it might get to their desk and leave a lasting impression.”
So we are seeing a return to print in response to the overconsumption of digital. This trend is going against forecasts made by industry leaders and experts when digital first arrived on the scene. It was widely thought that digital would eventually entirely take over print. However, we are experiencing a resurgence of print.
Returning to print should not be thought of as a return to its basic traditional form. Print is evolving to incorporate itself into a digital landscape. The average consumer can still find relief and trust in a direct mail flyer they receive at home. Still, that flyer also offers them the ability to find out more information or shop online with scannable QR codes and AR.
Through these digital advancements, print advertising becomes an experience beyond the page. So the next time you hear forecasts for print’s death, consider print’s adaptability and consumers’ preference for printed marketing materials in an oversaturated digital world.