Print, Myths and the Reality

October 17, 2019

Guest post by Susie Wong, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer, Fuji Xerox Singapore.

“Adapt or die!” – can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this about digital transformation. Everyone’s rushing to get onto the digital runway that modern marketers are not noticing how much print has, oddly, grown in power. We’re debunking three of the most common misconceptions about print today and why you should start charting your own omni-channel path that includes print.

 

Myth #1: Print has no place in today’s digital world

 

The way we search, decide and buy has changed. This is no longer the era of the single-channel shopper. Salesforce suggests that it takes 6-8 meaningful touchpoint actions between the consumer and the brand to trigger an action. Modern consumers, especially millennials, are looking around for the best value to ensure they’re making the best possible decision.

 

But here’s the catch: they’re not easily charmed by all the digital bells and whistles. 77% of millennials pay great attention to direct mail advertising and 64% would rather scan for useful information in the mail than email. Why is this? Because in their digitally engaged world, direct mailers break the monotony.

 

No remarketing, no ad fatigue or banner blindness. It simply delivers huge visual impact and captivates your audiences right from the get-go – offering your brand the opportunity to cut through the noise online so it can be heard loud and clear. And that’s why print has ascertained its longevity in our ever-evolving tech-driven world.

 

So how do you market to a generation that grew up with almost every media channel at their disposal? You find middle ground by marrying digital and print together as a cohesive strategy to effectively reinforce your brand’s messaging. Just look at known brands who have unlocked winning omni-channel remixes by integrating augmented reality with print:

Ikea launched an AR app that lets consumers envision how furniture will look like in their homes before they make their purchase. Consumers simply need to scan selected pages of their printed IKEA catalogue in the IKEA app, and place the printed catalogue where they’d like the furniture to be to unlock the feature.

 

Burger King created an AR feature within its app where consumers can point their smartphone at its competitors’ ads to burn it up instantly and turn it into a Burger King ad. When the flames die down, consumers are left with a free Whopper promo, which can be claimed at the nearest restaurant.

 

The results? Higher marketing ROI and a frictionless customer experience, driving offline action to online engagement.  

 

Myth #2: Print is static and cannot be personalised at scale

 

Modern consumers aren’t playing—they expect personalised products and are more than willing to pay more for a customised product or service. On top of that, they’d like to actively be involved in the process. But this move from mass production to mass personalisation is simply too expensive and impossible with print, right? Wrong.

 

Merging your printed or offline products with digital platforms puts you in a position of power to turn this rising interest in customisation into profitable sales. For example, one of the latest trends in children’s literature is the personalisation of storybooks.

Publishing companies like Wonderbly leverage variable data printing to design storybooks that revolve around the name of a child, taking them on a journey where she/he experiences a series of mini adventures associated with the relevant letters of their name.

 

Features like variable data printing enable you to deliver, for example, 10,000 unique documents with customised messages for each customer, instead of producing 10,000 copies of a single document with a single message.

 

Myth #3: Digital is multi-faceted, while print is just ink on paper

 

We live and breathe online – so it’s easy to assume that consumers would engage more with digital ads than print. But the reality is this: consumers engage with print ads longer than they do with digital ads.

 

In fact, a group of neuroscience researchers found that print ads triggered activity in the brain that’s responsible for desirability of products, signaling a greater intent to purchase. A week after, the same group of subjects showed greater emotional response and memory for the print ads. That’s the power of ink on paper—it holds a far greater power in its ability to create multi-sensory experience, more than pixels ever could.   

Car insurance company, Liberty Mutual Insurance, created a scented ad with the smell of a new car. They aimed to trigger subconscious memories for car buyers – a Pavlovian response to catch them at a moment that matters the most.

 

Trust Ikea to take things one step further by creating a print ad that was integrated with lavender scent and activated white noise, aimed at helping consumers to sleep better.

 

 Ikea also created a magazine ad that acted as a pregnancy test kit. If the result was positive, the ad would reveal a discounted price on cribs.

 

Ads like these tap into our inner most familiarity and affinity with brands and their products, forcing us to unlock these memories from our mental vaults. What do they prove? That integrating print with the latest technology enables you to deliver extraordinary storytelling experiences – etching a lasting impression in the minds of consumers.  

 

And that’s how you get around the increasing use of ad-blocking tools. To get the numbers you (and your client want), you need to understand that print is in a greater position of power today. Therefore the key to your marketing success resides in the emotional response you evoke from audiences—and the way to it? By integrating print into your omni-channel marketing mix.

 

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