Print is far from dead

Print has a future.  Ok I said it out loud. I know I’m a digital creature, happy in the cloud, but I like print too, in fact I’d go further than that … I love print, I still have inky fingers I think.

I’m reading a magazine called Print Power currently – a free mag but packed with some interesting thought articles – one from a friend of mine, Robin Bonn, is well worth a read alongside a complimentary piece from Nick Craig Walker.

One of my hero’s is also featured – the Incomparable Dave Trott.  Dave’s ‘Final word’ is a lovely eulogy to the benefits of integration.  But as ever with Dave’s writing it is grounded in a sense of reality.  I have identical views to him on QR codes, I’m less in agreement, at least in my own sector, as regards smartphone usage, but the scanners themselves are low take-up/usage.

I posted recently about Newsprint and its bounce during the serious news story of the death of Margaret Thatcher. – I will be intrigued to see if there is a similar bounce given recent tragic events in Woolwich. His point is well made … I will paraphrase : If print is dead why is everyone reading the Metro?

All of this is well and good – I get the fact that if you use print properly it can call to action via a different media and still resonate – that has been my stock in trade for the last few years with Insurance marketing.  The response from direct mail activity had to be measured in a number of ways:

  1. Actual response via phone – our principal call to action
  2. Actual response vis the website – a secondary call to action
  3. Halo increases in search traffic (Paid and Natural) and finally
  4. Halo increase in Aggregator traffic

The idea of a solus channel is long gone I fear – even with big data delivering personalisation and individual CTAs.  Solus Press advertising without an awareness driving campaign is doomed to failure if you are measuring for optimised costs of acquisition, the hit rate is just too low and digital will outscore on unit cost 9 times out of 10.

I agree that content remains crucial to driving the desire to respond to the call to action, and that content must be appropriate to the media as well as the customer.  Digital printing has changed that game incredibly, and to the benefit of all concerned; less wastage for Business and better targeting/relevance for the consumer.

I was taken aback recently by a brand that I never really associated with print innovation: Nivea suncream.  Given a simple communication insight that their latest sunscreen “lets you stay out in the sun longer” as start point they delivered in print something quite remarkable.

Using smart paper they added a USB charger to a solar panel and gave in essence, all the magazine readers, a free solar powered phone charger.  The insight … you can stay at the beach longer than a smartphone battery will last.  Genius.

With thought and creativity print is far from dead, right, I’m off to read my book now … the title ? “Paper” by Ian Sansom.


11 June 2013

Useful Link: Print Power:

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3 thoughts on “Print is far from dead

  1. James says:

    Well said Paul. We live in an age where the fashionable wisdom says to challenge the advance of digital is akin to being a challenger of climate change ! And whilst we need to redefine the role of traditional media, I agree it still has an integrated role.

  2. Thanks James – I have to say that I’m with you, integration is a better solution for meeting needs of members as multi channel usage grows. Paul

  3. Despite my love of all social media I love print too in its traditional sense and still appreciate (and must confess to being a bit geeky about) paper stock and finishes. I like to receive something tactile that I know someone has thought about the stock, weight, finish of and particularly when there are special little flourishes; embossing, spot varnish, brass staples… But this takes it to a whole new level of gloriousness! Thank you for sharing

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