Print Is the Only Sense-able Form of Marketing

Today I’d like to share still more evidence of something I’ve long believed. Far from being “dead”, print is more important and more effective than ever. People love talking about all things digital. But those fleeting on-screen pieces of information just don’t have the staying power of something you can actually hold in your hand.

Martin Lindstrom tackles this subject in an article on I think he is very convincing in discussing what people are missing in today’s communication environment. And it’s something that print is uniquely qualified to deliver.

Why Digital-Only Marketing Is Out of Touch

The key word here is just that: touch. Lindstrom says that society is craving “tactile” interactions. And that’s easy to understand. We communicate from screen to screen, not even walking down the hall to see a co-worker face-to-face when an email will do. We don’t know our neighbors, but we focus on the opinions of people across the world we will never meet.

People are hungry for any type of sensory contact beyond what they see on a glowing display. Thus, they react extremely well to the physical nature of creative and engaging print marketing and packaging and three-dimensional promotional items.

Why is Print So Compelling Today?

Lindstrom cites three strengths of communicating ‘on paper’ instead of online.

  1. Sensory Stimulation

Simply, it involves more senses. Messages in print (and promotional items) have a presence that no digital image can achieve. Visuals can be enjoyed more deeply Words can be read at whatever pace and distance is comfortable. The impact of “touch” just can’t be ignored.

A printed piece simply has more substance. Since it is more emotionally engaging, it is more impactful. In research, it repeatedly scores as the “most effective” advertising channel.

  1. The Information Doesn’t Disappear

This is true on two levels. First, unlike a digital image that is quickly scrolled through, deleted and forgotten, a printed message or piece lasts. You can hold it, re-read it, and save it on a desk or shelf.

Second, it also lasts longer in your mind. Many studies have shown that print advertising has up to 70% better recall than any other channel. Messages appear to have more weight or credibility, so they are less easily forgotten.

One more note here, since school is starting in most places. I’ve posted studies before that prove students who take handwritten notes, on paper, keep information far better than those who do so on a laptop or other digital format. Pass that along to your college students!

  1. The Distinction of Being Non-Digital

A common way to put it is “zig when the other guy zags.” Translation: everybody else is caught up in digital, having been told it’s the way to go. When you take advantage of the inherent advantages of printed marketing pieces and materials, you stand out.

That is pretty much the whole point of marketing. Consumers want printed matter. They remember printed information better. What else do you need to know?

Sensory Marketing Is Savvy Marketing

One more quick note. I saw another post that helps explain the the science of sensory marketing. It presents some fascinating examples of how manufacturers are starting to see the value of looking at the whole (sensory) customer experience to enhance the perceived value of their products.

Car manufacturers obsess over how a knob feels, or how a shutting door sounds. And the way a Hershey’s Kiss is wrapped is part of its appeal. A coffee aroma released on a city bus inspires more sales at a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s worth a read.

A Sensational Summary

Okay, not bragging here, that’s not what I mean. But I think the end quote in Lindstrom’s article sums things up nicely. The focus on digital today is all about distributing information with little attention paid to how it is received. But studies in neuroscience show that only 15% of what we do is based on “rational” thinking. The other 85% is based on subconscious factors.

That’s where real consumer receptivity and engagement comes. Holding a printed piece in hand where he or she can concentrate on it. Opening and appreciating a creative direct mail package. Smiling at (and saving) a handy or clever promotional item with your company logo on it. Stop back here on Tuesday and I will offer some specific ways you can use “sensory” print to engage customers and enhance sales results.

I Sense You’re Ready to Boost Sales

This all sounds lofty, but it’s actually very simple. Make sure print and promotional products are a big part of your overall marketing effort. You can depend on us to help. We’ve been doing just that for businesses of all sizes for nearly 100 years now.

Our ISO certification confirms our commitment to systems and processes that work. And our three consecutive Best of Print and Digital awards demonstrate our customers realize results when they form a relationship with us.

There are countless ways your business can profit from the sensory benefits of print, from promotional gifts to catalogs, custom labels and more. Contact Superior today, and let’s discuss some of them.

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