Is print dead? The death knell for print has been sounded for quite some time, if – so it seems – constantly earlier than when really due. Much like, contrary to expectations, TV never fully replaced radio and CDs failed to kill off vinyl, print still seems here to stay in our modern digital world.
In a sense, print is even starting to take flight once again. In 2017, analyst Louella Fernandes reported that, whereas e-book sales in the UK fell by 17% the previous year, sales of physical books increased by 8% – according to figures from the Publisher’s Association.
Many other examples abound of how print is continuing to bounce back in the face of the digital threat. However, why is this happening, and what could it mean for future marketing campaigns?
Print marketing stands out from the digital noise
The printed word has been a strong ever-present in marketing for centuries, encouraged by German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of his revolutionary printing press in 1440. Since then, print has persisted even as radio, TV, the web and social media have all arrived and evolved.
Print has even found surprising popularity among the millennial generation. While this segment continues to largely receive marketing messages online, one report indicates that 77% of millennials – people born in the 1980s and 1990s – still pay attention to direct mail advertising.
This situation could be attributed to how easily well-designed pieces of direct mail can stand out as we continue to be bombarded daily with online messages. The Direct Marketing Association reports that 79% of customers will act instantly on direct physical mail, compared to just 45% on an email.
How print is rising again in China, too
Meanwhile, letterpress, a printing technique dating back centuries, has seen renewed popularity in China, where artists, designers and consumers are noticing its beauty and craftsmanship.
“People in the cultural and creative industries have found that letterpress is highly valuable for their creations and businesses,” The Telegraph has quoted San Yang, who founded Beijing-based letterpress studio iloovee, as saying. The studio’s wedding invitations have drawn particular notice.
Reasons to join the printing renaissance
With almost half of millennials having opted to buy something after reading about it in a magazine, it begs the question what exactly is driving the printing renaissance. Arguably one simple reason is the tangibility of print, which engages sight, touch and smell – more senses than online advertising.
Furthermore, the trustworthiness of online media has taken a knock recently from scourges like “fake news” and the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Consequently, it’s easy for readers to instinctively trust the printed page, which also has more permanence than easy-to-delete emails.
Print materials can also be more immersive, with unique colors, foiling and textures all possible. Naturally, you will still need the right printing technology at your disposal to bring these possibilities to fruition. However, ordering the required printing machines from Duplo International is an investment that could ultimately pay for itself many times over.
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