That rumor we’ve been hearing for years is simply not true: “Marketing ROI is in your past.” And it never will be, as human nature does not and will not change. And neither will all the chaos in marketing channels from hundreds of marketers trying to get consumers’ attention simultaneously, 24/7.
What is true is that every 60 seconds more than:
- 156 million emails are sent
- 29 million messages are processed on What’s App
- 350,000 tweets are sent
- 243,000 photos are uploaded on FB; 70,000 hours of video contents is watched
- 400 hours of video are uploaded on Youtube
- 3.8 million searches take place on Google
And a lot more.
What’s not true is the decade-long rumor that print is dead. And it’s not going to happen anytime soon, if ever.
In fact, print is one of the most powerful channels for engaging consumers with brand messages that lead to more fulfilling brand experiences, according to the Data and Marketing Association’s 2016 response rate report and other sources:
- Direct mail outperforms digital for response nearly 2X!
- Print achieves 30% more recall than digital.
Most of us thought print died when email took over with nearly 4 billion people worldwide using email.
But we humans are a tactile species. We thrive on being able to touch things, and physically engage with the stimuli around us vs. observe from the other side of a screen. We like to hug those we love vs. send a digital wave. We like to touch the silky coat of our pets vs. just post cute photos on our screen savers. We like to touch paper books and turn the pages, and feel the weight of the story yet to unfold in our hands.
When we engage our senses beyond just sight, and actually touch things, we concentrate more and end up feeling more emotionally fulfilled. The response rate and sales volume generated by printed sales-oriented communications such as direct mail and catalog, is powerful and does not show any signs of letting up. In fact, 90 million consumers in the U.S. make purchases from print catalogs and spend on average $850 annually, and printed direct mail commands a higher response than email, as mentioned earlier.
According to a 2018 Radicati Group study, there will be more than 3.8 billion email users before the start of 2019, over 100 million more than the previous year. In other words, over half of the entire planet uses email.
With all the technology constantly being developed by leaders in the print industry such as Xerox, it continues to engage more of our senses and create deeper levels of emotional engagement. Just recently, Xerox released its new Iridesse production press allowing printers to more beautifully and easily use metallic prints to further engage our visual senses and the emotions that result from exposure to shiny new objects. Xerox has also simplified the process of highly personalized catalogs, allowing retailers to print consumers’ names, and past transaction information on covers and pages of catalogs, engaging our sense of value and appreciation, another “sense” proven to increase sales as more than 50% of customers will shop elsewhere if a brand does not recognize them personally.
Because of Xerox technology for personalization, and the ability to print striking, engaging, rich colors in communications that are highly relevant to consumers, print is not just competing with email. It’s now winning the game. We respond more and we actually engage a lot longer. We open envelopes with compelling graphics and relevant messages over clearly written subject lines and we respond twice as much. And we don’t opt out of print as easily as we do emails with that very convenient “unsubscribe” button, giving marketers another chance to communicate something that really matters to us.
Marketers in both B2B and B2C need to slow down when it comes to assigning market budgets to the latest technology apps and channels and rethink the past: print. Spending money on printed communications distributed via mail, trade show events, and in-store does and will pay off, and will drive consumers to your digital channels where you can engage via online chat, email and other ways. Trying to initiate engagement via email today is just getting harder, especially with GDPR becoming reality in the EU and other countries.
No matter how sophisticated digital technology becomes, and it will continue to find ways to engage us in fun ways such as augmented reality tools. Print will never die because human nature will never change. We will always want to touch things, to cozy up by a fire with a good story in a nicely printed book or catalog, and to “unplug” from the electrical world that in just 60 seconds bombards us with more messages and distractions than our human minds can fathom.