In 2010, MIT’s Media Lab founder issued his declaration that the physical print book would be dead within five years.
Seven years later, in 2017, the print industry saw $84 billion in sales, up more than nine percent from hitting an industry low in 2011. It’s projected to grow another three percent this year.
Contrary to popular belief, the print industry isn’t dying. Far from it. It turns out the pressure from digital forced the print industry to evolve and resulted in creative and innovative product offerings. Check out how the print industry has adapted to new trends.
From Chipotle’s make-your-own burritos to Coca-Cola’s personalized name packaging, customization is everywhere in the US now. The trend extends beyond food and into printing and marketing as well. People appreciate marketers’ efforts to personalize information. An InfoTrends study from 2016 reported 30 percent of customers would be much more likely to open personalized direct mail, while another 55 percent would be a little more likely.
To reach your audience on a more personal level, personalize the direct mail you send them. Imagine a car dealership sends you a postcard addressed to you in big, bold letters along with the exact model and color of your car to remind you of your upcoming service. To top it off, they include the image of you posing with your new car they snapped the day you bought it. You might spend a bit more time reading their message, right?
It’s Going Digital
Digital is now dominating the printing industry – digital printing, that is. Digital technology requires little time for setup and offers an overall faster turnaround time than traditional printing. This creates a quicker work flow for printers and frees up more time to handle more projects without sacrificing on quality.
Digital printing is also a great solution to make smaller quantity prints more cost effective. You won’t need to order massive quantities beyond your immediate need in order to get favorable pricing. This is a great feature if your designs will change or need to be modified frequently.
It’s Driving Website Traffic
The relationship between print and digital is becoming more of a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” partnership. Print marketing is a highly effective medium for driving more traffic to your online materials. Direct mail boasts a 37 percent higher response rate than email marketing, which on average receives a response only .1 percent of the time, according to Proactive.
To take advantage of consumers’ interest in direct mail, include links to your website, social media pages, or use QR codes to give them a clear path to your online messages. Traditionally, the complaint about print media is how hard it is to monitor success, but pairing it with digital allows you to track results through analytics.
It’s Becoming an Experience
One of the most commonly cited characteristics of millennials is their desire to have more tangible experiences. Because they grew up in a digital world, receiving mail is more exciting to them than other generations. In fact, Memjet reports 87 percent of millennials say they enjoy receiving mail.
Direct mail using high quality materials and images can create what the U.S. Postal Service calls a “Mail Moment,” a pleasant experience triggering recipients to act on the offer. Creating an interactive print piece will get customers engaged on more fronts, as we learned in Print & Digital: The Dynamic Duo. If creating a print experience is a bit too costly, you always have the opportunity to send them a digital experience through their device.
Contrary to popular belief, print certainly isn’t dying. It’s just changing to respond to current trends. In your next project, consider adding print materials in with your digital messages to create a stronger and more innovative campaign overall.