Print is still a thing, friends
“This is the kind of spontaneous publicity, your name in print, that MAKES people! I’m in PRINT! Things are going to start happening to me now.” — Steve Martin, The Jerk
If you played our #TuesdayTrivia on Facebook and Instagram this week you’ll know why I’m quoting The Jerk. I love this movie. The quote above is from the same scene as our Tuesday post — Steve Martin gets his hands on the new phonebook and quickly flips to his name. His name! In print! He’s SOMEBODY now.
Isn’t that the truth? From the moment I decided to become a writer, seeing my byline in print was such a thrill. I felt legit, like all that hard work in journalism school, all those daydreams and doodles of things I wanted to say when I was a kid, they were finally paying off. (Though not REALLY paying off — anybody who knows anything about journalism knows that’s not where you find the big bucks.)
I submit that feeling doesn’t just apply to writers. Seeing our names, or our brands, or our stories, or names of our family members somewhere in print makes an accomplishment seem somehow permanent. On the record. In the newspaper business, we called it “chicken dinner journalism,” but we took it seriously — we knew how important it was for us to include those names and get them right.
You can hold printed material in your hands and have a very physical and emotional connection to it, admiring the way it smells, the shape of the typography and the brilliant color of the images. You can keep it forever; reference it when needed. It’s protected from hackers, though unfortunately defenseless against spills or flames. Many forms represent ideas we consider sacred, and that’s why we can’t cut the cord — newspapers and magazines (democracy), books (literacy), letters and cards (meaningful interaction).
It’s print. And it’s still a thing. We live in a digital age where so much of what we do and say is recorded on a device we hold in our hands. According to Pew Center research, 95% of Americans own smartphones. We consume inordinate amounts of information this way — to a point that’s arguably unhealthy (especially for teens). But I’m here to tell you that print is still influential, and it should be a part of your marketing strategy.
Collateral: brochures, postcards, annual reports
Print marketing materials are an excellent way for you to tell (and show) your brand story — whether you’re highlighting the year’s accomplishments, promoting your community’s attractions or encouraging people to engage with your product or service. They are permanent documents that consumers can keep and reference, and they’re one of the best ways to visually promote your organization. (Great photography is key!)
Stationery: business cards, thank you notes, letterhead
We may send text messages and e-mails as often as we blink, but there’s no denying that sending a card or letter is a more meaningful mode of communication. When you have something important to share with a client or employee, consider taking the extra 5-10 minutes to write a note on a branded thank you card, or a draft a letter on company letterhead. It will make a lasting impression. They are more likely to be kept, remembered and displayed, giving your brand longevity and visibility.
Advertising: Newspapers, magazines (maybe even the phonebook!)
You’re not going to hear me say that print advertising is dead and shouldn’t be considered. No siree. What type of print advertising, though, is up for debate, and something that should be heavily considered when you’re creating your marketing strategy. After determining your budget, ask yourself these questions:
- What publications are influential in your community/industry?
- What publications contain content that is relevant to the audience you want to reach?
- What is the publication’s circulation and readership, how often is it published, and what is the advertising cost?
- How will you measure campaign performance?
Go home tonight and trade your smartphone for a book off the shelf or a newspaper off the stand, for old time’s sake. Enjoy it. It’s still an important part of who we are.
P&P can help you make sense of your marketing plan and find the right mix for your print and digital advertising strategy. Ready to get started? Let’s chat!