We live in a world where important information is increasingly communicated digitally. From email to social messaging, it’s commonplace to see really meaningful – sometimes personal – information broadcast through these methods.
There are a variety of forces behind this trend. From financial statements and member communications to marketing material, sending digitally is typically cheaper than print and allows you to push information out at a greater frequency. You don’t have to wait for an email to be printed, assembled and sent through the mail, for example. Furthermore, digital communications have easier built-in tracking and analytics to iterate and optimize your messaging and tactics.
While these are valid reasons to communicate with your audience digitally, there are plenty of reasons why print still matters – and why, if done properly, it can have a bigger impact than ever before.
Print is More Likely to Stand Out
When you send your audience emails, those emails show up front and center on their mobile devices on in their inbox. They’re hard to miss, right?
Emails have a high possibility of clustering together. Just check your personal inbox to validate that statement. If you don’t recognize the sender as someone you want to hear from and the subject line doesn’t hook you at first glance, that email is getting buried before you ever see the contents – and if you’re like most people, the chances of you circling back are slim to none.
A study by the Radicati Group, a technology market research firm, found that on average, office workers receive an average of 76 emails per day across their email accounts. What are the odds you cut through that noise?
While an email can have the greatest design of all time, it doesn’t matter if it’s never opened. Print, meanwhile, can use eye-catching content and design to stand out immediately. Mailed pieces are just harder to miss. Most people don’t even bother to read all of their emails and with 76 a day, who can blame them? With print, your audience is more likely to take a look.
Fact: Brains Prefer Print
A tangible printed piece just triggers our brains in more significant ways than digital communications. Forbes notes that a study conducted by the neuromarketing firm TrueImpact found that print – specifically direct mail – was easier to mentally process than similar digital messaging while also having higher odds of brand recall.
The study presented a variety of explanations for this, including that physical material is “real” to our brains due to it engaging with “spatial memory networks.”
In short, unlike digital, which only exists on a screen, print can be held and felt. This adds a level of memorability and authority to print messaging.
The Trust Factor
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Every day there’s news about new data breaches, ransomware and other viruses that can steal your information in the blink of an eye. Click on the wrong website or open the wrong email and you’re suddenly in trouble.
To combat this, your customers have been appropriately drilled with information about how these attacks often come in the disguise of “important” information. Bank info, credit card statements, healthcare information – all of these pretenses are used. If you happen to be someone sending out this type of information through digital channels, there’s already some suspicion due to this environment.
Print has a big advantage in this situation. There’s no risk of triggering a ransomware attack when you open an envelope, which means you’re starting from a better foundation of trust.
With all that being said, digital is still, of course, a critical way to communicate information today. But rather than make print outdated, this trend does the opposite; it heightens the value of printed information.
By incorporating print to send your most important, sensitive information, you’ll ensure a level of credibility and increase the odds your customers receive the information that they likely can’t do without. And by using print to get attention from members of your audience who are likely inundated with unwanted emails and social messages on a daily basis, you can increase your odds of rising above the tide of ignored digital messages.
And just like digital communications, print is continuously evolving. By harnessing new technologies to automate, personalize and track print communications, companies can create new and better opportunities to reach their audiences.