8 reasons why print marketing is effective

print marketing

How many times have you been told that ‘print marketing is dead’? Whilst there is a massive decline in print marketing from the heady days of direct mail, print is far from dead. Print materials play a crucial role in many marketing plans. Here’s our case for the defence of print marketing.

1. Digital is easy to ignore and forget

Yes, digital marketing is relatively quick and cost effective, but how many times have you forgotten the date of an event or a URL you intended to remember? We skim-read online more than we do for print, and consequently our ability to retain and recall online information is less effective.  Print materials take slightly longer to read and therefore your message reaches your customer in a different way.

2. Print marketing hangs around

It’s easy to hit the delete button on an email, and yes, print too can be binned, but if the message is one of interest customers are likely to hang on to the leaflet for reference. Emails get rapidly pushed down the inbox and are as good as forgotten.  Meanwhile your print item is stuck on their notice-board at home.

3. Greater reach than digital

How many people see the contents of your email inbox? Probably just yourself. How often do you forward an email offer on to friends? Rarely, if ever? A print leaflet can be seen by every member in the household, can be shown around friends and shared.  This is particularly helpful if other members of the household are the decision maker or influencer.  For example a college may contact their future students by post – in order to get in front of the parents too. You’ll reach more people with each communication.

4. Make the intangible real

Particularly in services marketing we face the challenge that the thing we are selling is intangible – you can’t pick it up.  That can present some communication challenges.  In particular, if your service is high-value customers will want something they can hold in their hand as proof that the service exists. Think holiday brochures, wedding venue brochures or university course prospectuses.  Digital content can change from day to day or even be deleted, whereas if I have an official printed copy in my hand there is some certainty to what I am buying.

5. Print speaks for your brand

Whilst great design, photography and copywriting all say a lot about a brand, print has the added dimensions of paper and print quality. These provide marketers with another opportunity to communicate brand values and make an impact on their prospective customers. Paper choice and finish can speak volumes about your brand, conveying quality and leaving a lasting impression.

6. We’re not all digital natives

According to the Oxford Internet Institute, almost one fifth of Britons don’t use the Internet. For some this is about price or security concerns, whilst a significant number just didn’t feel the need for it. As the BBC reports, there is a sharp decline in Internet usage aged 50-plus. If your target audience includes the 50+ demographic then print should be seriously considered as part of your marketing mix. Let’s not assume that everyone is online all the time.

7. Push the envelope

Print is not just about flyers, posters and letters.  Print materials have a range of uses which are great for spreading the word and keeping your message front of mind – think ‘leave behinds’ at meetings, calling cards, postcards, vouchers etc. How you use print will depend on your marketing objectives and distribution method. Print marketing allows for creativity to shine through and create stand-out on the doormat.

8. Personalised print

Print is the ideal medium to deliver a personalised communication to your customers or prospective clients. Going beyond their name and address, personalisation means targeting content and offers towards their interests – delivering family holiday suggestions if it’s appropriate for one customer, or solo travel options for another. Showing the customer that you recognise their preferences and interests demonstrates that you value them and their custom.

We’re big advocates of print marketing – used appropriately, well designed and written, and produced by expert printers, print can have a fantastic impact.


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Roisin Kirby is an experienced Marketing Consultant based in Nottingham (UK), specialising in education and services marketing. A Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

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