“This might be the moment where print, freed from its need to do everything, becomes better at doing what it can do uniquely.”
—Huffington Post, November 2012
Is print dead? Recent market research suggests no it’s not! Print is evolving to complement digital media in all the right ways. Smart brand marketers are learning to play to the strengths of both print and digital media. This creates a richer brand experience for consumers.
Sappi Fine Paper has addressed the future of print head-on in a recent special publication called Print & which highlights study results showing how print drives ROI when used in combination with digital media to create effective integrated marketing campaigns. The study presents independent market research on demographic preferences, emotional triggers, shopping behaviors, and niche marketing. The study effectively demonstrates that print is incredibly powerful in creating an engaging, visually intriguing, and tactile experience.
Print & was recently featured in a sold-out event I had the pleasure of attending at Fenway Park, called Kirkwood Double Header. The event, hosted by Kirkwood Printing, was geared towards marketing and print professionals. The four-hour event presented very insightful information which I am excited to share more details about with you below. As an added bonus the event was held at Fenway Park! After a buffet lunch in the State Street Pavilion, attendees were given the opportunity to take a tour of Fenway. We were also even given a photo-op with the ’04 and ’07 World Series trophies!
Here are some of the memorable event details…
Session 1 of Kirkwood Double Header:
“Print &” publication
Presented by Daniel Dejan of Sappi Fine Paper, this session featured some highlights of the market research findings. The bottom line: results count. Brand marketers are adopting a variety of tools that produce the most effective results when strategically integrated.
My top 3 take-aways from session 1:
1) Print is powerful!
A neuroscience study referenced in Print & says print ranked as one of the highest mediums for emotional impact. The physical act of handling tangible material feels more “real”. It triggers emotional reactions that leave a “deeper footprint” in the brain. Luxury brands have especially realized the importance of printed pieces. They are using them as part of the brand experience to reinforce the message of quality and craftsmanship. The study suggests that all demographics trust print over digital. The millennial generation — arguably the most digitally savvy demographic on the planet — is more receptive to print than some might expect. A surprising 69 percent of millenials prefer print and paper communications to reading off a screen.
2) The Integration of print & digital is even more powerful!
Print and digital work most effectively when they join forces to deliver the message through multiple media channels. It is believed that brand loyalty doubles if it can be experienced in multiple senses. A smart marketing plan finds the right balance between the accessibility and immediacy of digital media with the permanence and elegance of print.
3) Brands now give consumers an even more targeted and personalized brand experience.
With the ability to capture big data we’re learning how this information can be successfully applied to marketing plans. This method gives an ultra-direct approach to consumers in specific demographics. Brands now have the ability to directly connect and cater to consumers’ habits and preferences. In fact, we are beginning to expect a more personalized experience with our favorite brands.
Attendees received a printed copy of the Print & report designed by Kit Hinrichs, Principal and Creative Director of Studio Hinrichs. The printed report showcases great examples of how print can be more tactile than just traditional four-color process printing. The pages include interesting examples of a number of print techniques. It included augmented reality (AR), flocking soft-touch coating, reticulated varnish, photochromic ink, raised UV coating, engraving, liquid foil, thermography, embossing, metallic inks, and unusual folds.
Session 2 of Kirkwood Double Header:
Pushing the Envelope: Direct Mail
Trish Witkowski, Founder and Chief Folding Fanatic of foldfactory.com presented the second session. She is a graphic designer with a passion for folding and a Master’s degree in printing. Trish was a pleasure to listen to! She speaks with more enthusiasm about direct mail and folding than anyone I can think of! It was wonderful to have the opportunity to hear from such a great industry expert.
I especially enjoyed that she gave specific samples of some of her favorite direct mail pieces. She explained why she thinks each of them are great. Her YouTube channel includes a section where she posts a new super-cool fold of the week in a concise 60-second video. She has collected some really inspiring and great examples for inspiration!
In summary, the Kirkwood Double Header event gave a valuable perspective. It showed the current relevance and unique power of print. Market studies show print absolutely does have a valuable place in today’s digital world. This is especially true when it is part of a comprehensive marketing strategy that plays to the strengths of all channels. Ultimately, today’s successful brand marketer will need to be exceptional at leveraging each channel’s intrinsic strengths in order to achieve the biggest impact and return on investment.