The news may appear gloomy for the print industry at first glance. Newspapers have been in terminal decline for a decade and print magazines are faring little better with competition from the internet ever more fierce. However, with the public increasingly blind to banners and display ads online, print and direct mail marketing is having a resurgence.
The more time we all spend online, the more advertisements that we see flashed in front of our eyes, surrounding the corners of pages like these or auto-playing before you get to watch that next funny YouTube clip. Each time we search, stream, read, scroll, click, or swipe, we are bombarded by advertisements. We see thousands of these ads every day, and whilst Facebook and Google maintain that they represent good value for advertisers, the reality is that the public generally ignores such distractions – something known in the advertising and marketing industry as “banner blindness“.
Whilst we have learned to ignore online ads, the fact that we generally see less postal mail these days means that we are far more likely to take notice of printed advertisements sent to us through the post or pushed through our letterbox. On your doormat, companies are competing with far fewer others for your attention and critically they can also entice you with leaflets, brochures or impressive creative die-cut materials that can contain far more information than one could ever fit in a leaderboard or skyscraper banner ad online.
Whilst it remains true that printed ads cost more to be distributed per prospect, the cost per customer is often significantly less. Add to this that the cost of designing and printing such materials has also been coming down thanks to the rise of automation, with fully automated combined machine like slitters cutters creasers now create menus, leaflets, and cards at scale, and print marketing begins to sound increasingly attractive.
Analysts expect print marketing to grow at a steady two to three per cent a year over the next decade, with the market soon to be worth almost half a trillion dollars. And whilst companies utilising print do face challenges with targeting and collating prospect information offline, elements that would be handled by Google or Facebook and their vast datasets online, the future seems bright for at least one element of the print industry. The printed media may be dying but print marketing is far from dead.