The old paper versus digital debate continues, yet we’ve come across several articles lately reporting on the power of print in the marketing mix. Slowly moving away from being the poor cousin of digital communications, more and more research shows print’s power as a medium to convey messages and build long lasting engagement with audiences.
Engagement is something brands strive for yet not all succeed at or more to the point, sustain. Those that do it well are reaping the rewards. Some studies even show that we absorb more when exposed to multi-sensory experiences and printed items tick all the sensory boxes. Think direct mail and how it can impact touch, sound, smell and taste even. So many options to create a memorable experience!
Each medium has a place but the real gold is both realms working together. The articles below provide great examples about how print is working alongside digital to enhance engagement for brands. The first three articles come from the Sappi (our trusty supplier of HannoArt), magazine called 'What’s Next'. Subscribe to their online newsletter for some seriously insightful content (just choose UK in the drop down). And the last article is from ‘Two Sides’ online newsletter, written by a guest writer, leading marketing professional Malcolm Auld titled ‘Why printed media succeeds in the digital world’.
Boden case study
Online UK clothing company Boden has become a retail legend. Why? At the heart of all their marketing communications is a highly anticipated, tactile and tailored brand experience – their quarterly direct mail catalogue which showcases their new range. The magazine is full of stunning photo stories, unexpected little extras like stickers, die-cut covers, gift tags at Christmas, personalised messaging on the cover and even bingo cards. All of this enhances customer engagement and brand loyalty for Boden (customers spend 100 pounds per order). With the average person spending eight seconds reading an email and 15 on a catalogue, Boden have definitely got their customers needs sorted.
Red Bull case study
Red Bull totally gets the power of content marketing. They have their own high octane lifestyle magazine called Red Bulletin, nailing cross-platform marketing with the print and digital arms of their business merging perfectly. The magazine is all about the ‘lifestyle’ that drinkers of Red Bull can laterally connect with and includes articles about sponsored athletes, extreme sports like F1 racing and random blast outs like interviews with hip-hop star Questlove and you can even swipe a page in the magazine which opens to a live connection with Red Bull TV! Impressively, they have a worldwide circulation of 3.1 million. Not bad for a company that sells 4.6 billion cans of energy drinks per year.
Moshi Monsters case study
The Moshi Monsters website allows children to create and nurture their own pet monster. To enhance the brand, 'Moshi Monsters Magazine' was launched to its 65 million registered website users. Kids can read about their pets, complete an activity and learn a fast fact. The idea was to support online developments offline and the beauty of the physical magazine is that kids read it more compared to when they are online in ‘play’ mode. It’s also collectable and meets their pocket money budget. The formula works – there has been a 40% increase in magazine circulation in the past year.
Malcolm Auld, marketing guru
Malcolm Auld, guest writer for Two Sides, puts forward interesting examples of how print connects with the audience on many sensory levels. He speaks about people being more engaged with physical materials and even warns about the trap of putting all your marketing budget into digital activities. And Malcolm is an expert in digital marketing! He alludes to the point that the dynamic duo of print and digital is really where it’s at.
Ultimately, it’s about ensuring that however people choose to consume a brand, it’s the experience that remains carefully crafted, tailored and distinctly unique. The power of print, the tangible, physical medium, is alive and kicking butt. Or, put more succinctly with this quote from Malcolm’s article: “We all know that real sex is better than virtual sex.” Ha!