Thought time! Washington Media Services has seen a lot of clients look away from print products. However, we’d like to run down a little rabbit hole on the importance of print…
First off, we don’t want to say that digital isn’t important. Digital ads and promotions can be a business lifesaver. It’s super efficient for projects that are meant to be one time things and run on a short shelf life. This post is meant to look at the importance print can play in our lives. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, but one has been touted as superior, to be sure.
So, what are we talking about when we say print? Everything. From the small items like business cards to large publications, anything material can make a difference in how people interact with your business/organization. While digital media is efficient and clean, it also takes away an aspect of an important human sense: touch.
Imagine you’re meeting with potential customers. After you talk to them for a while, you’d like to let them know how they can get in touch with you or your business, right? You can point them to your website (which is a good thing to do regardless), but actually handing them your business card gives them something tactile. It allows them to make a bit of a connection. They have your information right there in their hand… easy, right?
Let’s try another. Imagine you run an organization and want to put out a newsletter so your members know about all the events your organization is putting on. Sending out email newsletters is effective and uses fewer resources, but are people actually reading your newsletter? Let me explain my question a bit. In doing some research for this piece, I came across a paper called “What Can Neuroscience Tell Us About Why Print Magazine Advertising Works?” In reading through the paper, I found an interesting point. The researchers put forward the idea that (at least in most cases they witnessed) reading on a screen was mostly comprised of skimming through data. It showed that reading a printed piece was usually slower and subjects read deeper into the material.
In short, print isn’t dead. Print hasn’t truly come close to death. Some studies suggest that young people purchase physically printed (non-digital) magazines and papers more than was done a decade ago¹. So, when you are looking to have a project created, don’t just assume digital publishing is your only option. Instead, ask “Is my audience going to value a printed copy?” In the end, you have to know your audience and predict what they might prefer.
¹Scott McDonald, Ph.D., What Can Neuroscience Tell Us About Why Print Magazine Advertising Works? (A White Paper from MPA– The Association of Magazine Media, 2015).
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