As with all marketing, quality matters, but creating content in print that is durable, that is tangible, and that is offline has a chance to stand out because of its relative scarcity. More and more of our lives become digital; what’s tangible becomes more scarce and therefore most noticeable. – Christopher Penn, Co-Founder & Chief Data Scientist Trustinsights.ai
In an era when digital fatigue is real, people are starving for something tangible. Thankfully, there’s a hero emerging from the shadows: print. Despite the never-ending deluge of digital platforms and the love affair with AI, print is going to be a darling for anyone who truly wants to connect. In fact, I think it can save marketers and possibly humanity!
That may come off as a bit dramatic, but you tell me how to stand out digitally. Seriously, how can anyone differentiate themselves in the nauseating social atmosphere? The answer is that not many can. And even those that do are not truly connected with deep meaningful relationships.
I subscribe to the idea that intelligence comes from conversation. When we spend time listening and sharing, our humanness gets stimulated. In turn, when we sincerely pay attention to others, we not only make them feel good, something inside us flourishes. And that connection cannot be replicated consistently in a digital landscape.
Print shows respect for others. It means you took the time to pay attention and created content that is supposed to last beyond the nanosecond of an email or social post. Print is smart and real. And marketers that want to truly know their respective communities need to turn—to print.
A couple of months ago, I attended the Marketing AI conference, and my head was spinning from all the different platforms. I could see the many marketers eager to use it and cut some corners. And while there are clearly some programs that will help speed up some things, it won’t replace the ability to connect on a more intimate level. Print will.
The keynote speaker at MAICON was Christopher Penn, Co-Founder & Chief Data Scientist, TrustInsights.ai. I was so impressed with him and his surprising take on print that I had to reach out. When I asked him about print, he said, “As with all marketing, quality matters, but creating content in print that is durable, that is tangible, and that is offline has a chance to stand out because of its relative scarcity. More and more of our lives become digital; what’s tangible becomes more scarce and therefore most noticeable.”
Folks, I am not telling you that print is alive. I don’t play that game anymore. I am telling you that your marketing clients are in trouble and before they get lost in the digital vortex, you need to save them with print. So, reach out to them and set up an intervention of sorts. Tell them you love them and then share the following:
- Marketers must digitally detox
Our communities are overwhelmed. The constant barrage of notifications, emails, and digital ads has left many feeling disconnected. Enter print. It’s intimate. It’s haptic. It’s a breath of fresh air in a world dominated by screens. By engaging through touch, print offers a unique sensory experience that digital just can’t replicate.
- Print is smart
There’s something about holding a printed material in your hands that just feels… smarter. Maybe it’s the weight of the paper, the texture, or the smell of fresh ink. Whatever it is, people feel more informed, more connected, and yes, a tad bit more intelligent when they engage with print.
- Print has game-changing ROI
Recent commercial printing reports have some eye-opening stats:
- Sales for commercial printers surged by 16.7% in 2022.
- Real sales, adjusted for inflation, rose by a commendable 4.3%.
- A whopping 90% witnessed a sales boost, although profitability increased for slightly less than 60%.
These figures aren’t just numbers; they’re a testament to the power of print in today’s marketing landscape. And with companies like MindFire Inc. providing the software to track direct mail, the ROI on print is better than ever.
- Challenges exist but opportunities abound
Yes, our industry faces challenges like material shortages, labor issues, and inflation concerns. But with challenges come opportunities. Certainly, AI will be a tool to help but many of you are already optimistic about 2024. You may be expecting better business conditions, easing of labor shortages, and more stable supply chains. But the demand for the authentic connection that print provides is what we all should be super excited about.
- The future is bright (and printed)
Products like banners, posters, and window graphics are expected to see rapid growth. Traditional print products like direct mail and marketing collateral are also making waves, proving that print is versatile and ever-evolving. With conferences and in-person events making a comeback, healthcare providers and medical manufacturing are markets to watch out for. On the flip side, real estate and ad agencies might need a bit more print love.
All in all, marketers need us like never before and we need to afford them the chance to connect like only our industry can. Let’s share with them that print is not just a medium; it’s an experience. It’s the remedy to their digital addiction, the boost to their ROI, and the touchpoint that their audience craves. Let’s save our campaigns, our industry, and perhaps humanity, one print at a time!
P.S. Save the date for the SmartPrint Summit on May 7, 2024 at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio—an exclusive summit event with an agenda full of AI and Print thought leaders. Contact America’s Print Show to learn how to get invited.