On the importance of print design
It seems it has always been fashionable to declare that ‘print is dead’. In reality, print is more important than ever to integrated marketers, and anyone who needs to finely target segments of their market and know that they’ll stand out against the competition. And that’s pretty much everyone.
The technology of communication has certainly changed, and will continue to change quickly. We all do business differently now, and the digital, ephemeral world has become very important to commerce, but the actual volume of printed material has only increased, as had the amount actually spent on print marketing and design.
The reasons why are in no way mysterious, but they do bear repeating.
Hard copy feels more real, and has permanence.
You simply respond differently to a printed flyer than to a web page, no matter how all-singing, all-dancing. It has substance. Gravitas. A solidly, elegantly designed and clearly expensive business card says something to the customer every time they feel it between their fingers that a website can’t do with streaming 1080p video.
Better still, it is a real, durable object. It will (sometimes) be kept. A week later, they’ll find it on their desk, on their fridge, on the dining room table, and think of you again. When was the last time you looked at a marketing email again a week later?
Print materials don’t require technology.
Web and mobile marketing can be complicated. On the other hand, communicating print material is easy. Language requirements aside, virtually everyone can see your brochure or leaflet every time. They don’t need to find a Wi-Fi hot spot. They don’t need to worry about charge, data usage, or the size of their screen. When you hand a printed design to a client on paper, you know for certain that they see the same thing as you, in the same way. I can’t stress how convenient this is for a designer.
Print is synergistic with digital marketing, not competitive.
Print marketing (brochures, leaflets, ads, direct mail, etc.) should be used in symbiosis with online marketing, not instead of or merely alongside of. A recent study by Pitney Bose showed that at least 76% of SMEs prefer a mix of digital and print marketing channels. The same is true of social media marketing, as most experts suggest using print and SM communications in concert for best effect.
If you want to tighten up the relationship between your online and print marketing, I’ll give you two tips for free:
• Link to your social media presence on all of your collateral, especially your business cards.
• Import customer testimonials and comments from your web pages and social networks to your print materials.
I have other ideas too, but I charge for those.
Communicating in print can make your customers feel important, and make them think well of your business.
Receiving a high quality, well designed brochure lets a client know that you take their custom seriously, and care enough about them and your product to explain it fully, and to ‘spend a little money’ on it, and on them.
Well-designed collateral materials make customers and clients believe that your business has permanence, and the resources to provide them the service they need. Digital resources, though they have their place, feel ‘cheap’ even when they cost millions. The simple elegance of a well-designed business card, stationary featuring branding, even just using a pen with your logo on can give customers a lot of confidence in your business.
Printed material is easier to deliver effectively, and more likely to be read.
Handing a potential customer a brochure, or sending it in the post, is extremely easy. The experience is unambiguous, and the feedback is immediate. You know exactly what the customer is seeing, can predict the user experience exactly, and you know they’ll at least glance at it. The vast majority of even highly targeted digital marketing goes forever unopened or undelivered.
Vive la imprimer!