Death of print ‘greatly exaggerated’

Many owners and managers of small and medium-sized business have heard that print is dead and don’t even consider using it as part of their marketing mix.

Mark Twain once wrote that the reports of his death were greatly exaggerated and the same is true of print and other technologies. Remember all the panic and confusion in the music industry after digital downloads became the most popular way of getting new music?

The last rites were read for vinyl records after almost everyone agreed they had passed their sell-by-date. But a funny thing happened on the way to the funeral because vinyl refused to be buried.

Much the same story played out in photography where digital looked like it was going to kill off film entirely. Many famous names went to the wall, as the bemused-looking Agfa teddy on my bookcase will confirm, but there are quite a few people still using film and instant cameras.

Print is another one of those formats that is not going to die. They’ve been talking about the paperless office and the death of books for years but it’s not going to happen. There will be changes and many newspapers will go under but print and paper will still be around. It’s just so tactile and you can’t destroy it by walking past a really strong magnet or spilling a bit of your margarita on it.

Print and paper overlooked

Most smaller businesses now concentrate on marketing themselves via the Worldwide Web and social media. They usually get business cards printed but overlook the fact that print and paper have unique characteristics making them a really valuable marketing tool as well.

The thing is that printed materials potentially have a very long life and can lie around for months waiting for someone to pick them up. An application form for a cinema club lay on my hall table for six months before I got around to joining, for example.

The question is whether I would have bothered if the bored assistant had merely directed me to a website to sign up. Probably not. The website is useful for checking session times but the printed form is what finally got me over the line.

Differentiating with print

A nicely written printed book, information sheet, catalogue, booklet, form, coupon or flyer can also be a valuable marketing tool. Your website is always on, it’s true, but clients have to make an effort to visit it and it can’t lie around on the hall table being an ongoing reminder.

You hope potential clients will look at your website after they get home from the event where you handed them your business card. The snag is that they will have received cards from a large number of people and may not even remember who you were.

But what if you differentiated yourself and handed them a nice little brochure as well? Isn’t there a chance they’ll quickly scan itwhen they get home and take action or maybe even leave it lying around where they, or others, might see it later?

I recently produced a print version of my weekly newsletter which has aroused a gratifying amount of interest wherever I handed it out and I’ll certainly be doing a second edition later in the year.

Be aware

Printed materials you hand out represent your business and you cannot afford to make a negative impression with bad design or poorly written text riddled with grammar and spelling errors. At Allan Jackson Communications we can help you tell your story clearly and concisely and work with experienced print designers to produce printed materials that’ll get you over the line with your customers.

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