The digital age in marketing is here to stay. Marketing budgets will continue to focus more and more on websites, search engine marketing and social media. Where does that leave print marketing — you know, brochures, direct mail and magazine ads?

If you are a bearish investor with print marketing, which most people are, you may believe the value of print marketing will continue to decline as the digital age seeps into every aspect of our lives. If this is true, is there any reason to be bullish when it comes to print marketing?

Taking a quick glance at the numbers, yes, there is a reason. The average American adult spends seven hours a day looking at a screen according to Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, and spends an average of seven hours a day sleeping, according to an U.S. Gallup poll. That leaves ten hours a day to capture your target audience’s imagination, but:

What is the power and purpose of print marketing in the digital age?

Brooke Smith, Associate Print Designer at United Creations

In the past decade, digital media has evolved to meet so many of our needs by offering more economical, less wasteful ways to advertise. What messages used to fill our mailboxes with paper are now digitally flooding our email inboxes and news feeds. Audiences now encounter printed media much less frequently, creating an opportunity to be more strategic and thoughtful with our print marketing than ever before. While we're inundated with digital, printed pieces are elevated and reserved for something special. 

Just as our "real" friendships happen offline, so do our meaningful communications with our audience. Technology has yet to replace the power of a physical, printed piece in certain circumstances. For example, when we make a connection with someone in person, we still leave behind a physical business card that reminds them who we are and what we're all about. A well-designed, memorable card has the power to prompt someone to reach out to you before they recycle that card. Let's approach print with respect for our environment, our future, and our message. Print can continue to honor a future where we value quality over quantity. 

Peter Popp, Creative Director at United Creations

While digital marketing is king, print still has a strong supporting role and helps fill the gaps of experience across your brand. Whether it’s a billboard that catches the eye of a commuter or a beautifully crafted folding piece meant to engage your customer through a tactile experience, print fulfills roles that digital marketing may never achieve. As we move to a digital norm, an opportunity is created for print to become something uncommon, special and memorable.

Brittney Roach-Cline, Senior Print Designer at United Creations

Here are some tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your print marketing:

1. Make it memorable. Digital marketing is perfect for short bits of information that comes and goes, but print can last forever. Whether you’re announcing an event, sale, or a new product, print creates an experience that your customers will remember. They may keep the piece well after the event or sale has passed.

 2. Always consider your audience. When your customers aren’t on a device or in front of a screen, what are they doing? What sort of things are around them? Are they often shopping, or perhaps they travel more than most? Knowing their habits will help you in selecting a strong vehicle for your print marketing.

 3. Support your digital efforts. Print is often a supporting media. Make sure your print pieces point back to your digital channels.

 4. A note on direct mail campaigns. Printed direct mail campaigns can have a big payoff, especially if you are selling a high-end service or product. They can help fill your prospect pipeline for an internal sales team, or sell directly off the page. Make sure you give your audience more than one way to respond, include a pre-paid reply envelope, and pre-fill in their basic response info like name and address. Making it easy for your audience will boost your response rate. With less print being done, your message has less competition, and more opportunity to inspire action.

Innovate your print marketing

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