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Print is dead. Long live print. Content marketers are constantly debating the relevance of print in the digital age. Forecasts heralding the impending death of print have been issued time and time again since the dawn of the internet age. And yet, print is not only alive, but thriving and more engaging than ever before.
Print media’s biggest USP is the way it allows human brains to form connections which last longer in memory. Books, magazines, coffee table books, brochures, reports — we still see them around and we still pick them up and we still enjoy turning the pages.
And, more to the point, we can more easily recall what we see and read. This is because the tactile quality of printed media taps into the haptic memory (touch memory) of readers, which is considered to be the most lasting form of emotional connection.
Print offers unparalleled flexibility in creativity. Fonts, types, charts, graphics, colours — all come alive. This is why newspapers get fatter during festive seasons. When it comes to advertising, print has more staying power, elicits more brand loyalty and strongly influences purchase decisions.
Yes, print products can be more expensive, but they also last for years. They are a great way to capture stories that have lasting legacies — coffee table books, for example, remain an asset for years, long after digital content has been forgotten.
In the digital era, the combination of print and digital gives brands and businesses tremendous opportunities to leverage both mediums for success. An integrated approach to the two mediums can exponentially increase the potential of each and help connect with the target audience on multiple levels.
Leveraging the technological innovations of digital marketing and combining it with the personal nature of print can go a long way in creating impact, and ultimately maximising ROI. There are a number of novel approaches and technologies that can help businesses to take print marketing to the next level and seamlessly integrate it with digital communication.
QR codes are a great way to bridge print collaterals with the digital assets. QR codes embedded in print can lead users to websites, videos, social media pages, and more. Not only does this technology help convert physical engagement with print into online interactions, but QR codes can also help in collating analytics data on customers and engagement.
This is a form of high impact communication to increase efficiency and encourage new behaviours. Marketers create gameplay elements for print media, which leads users to online sites for the next level of engagement. Fun features such as leaderboards, competitions, rewards and badges are woven into the print + digital campaign to create a stronger pull.
The new kid on the block, augmented reality (AR) is a great way to bring an exciting or dynamic design to life through digital connectivity. AR can create differentiated, interactive, immersive and impactful experiences that bring products to life. An AR-tag can be used to do any number of things when scanned: open a website, link to a business page, play a video or a game. The digital responses can also be tracked to measure the ROI.
An augmented print typifies the advantages of seamlessly integrating print and digital – it harnesses the tactile, personal qualities of print with the precision and data generating capacities of digital – to create a unique experience.
The marriage of print and digital is rapidly transforming print media and empowering brands and businesses to make lasting connections with potential customers by combining the best elements of both media. Doomsday prophecies notwithstanding, one thing is certain. Print media is here to stay.