It is actually pretty hard to think back to a time before the internet; try it! There are so many deeply ingrained concepts and behaviours around it now that the idea of not having it really is odd. It was a time when media still ruled but it ruled using different tools, TV and Radio were still huge and so was print. The power the newspapers held was massive, but it wasn’t just papers. Magazines were a huge money spinner, they were very popular from kids of elderly people, direct mail, flyers, brochures and a range of other print products were critical elements for many businesses and then it all changed!
The New World
We now get our information from websites, podcasts, video, mobile phone news apps and other online sources. When we want to advertise most small businesses will go to Google AdWords or Facebook in order to reach people and it works very well. However, just because we have a lot of new toys doesn’t mean the older ones are redundant. Print still exists and there are quite a few situations where it still has quite a lot of clout and might well be worth thinking about!
Let’s Talk about the Environment
When thinking about print and why it might be dead it is natural to think about the environmental impact but it isn’t as simple as you may think. Yes, print media uses paper, and this comes from trees, however there are a range of certifications in place to make sure that paper products come from a sustainable source and therefore have minimal carbon footprint. If print suppliers are FSC Registered then its from a sustainable source. They can go further too and become ISO 14001 certified which is the highest international standard for low impact. While this is not about bashing digital media it is worth noting platforms like Facebook are not impact free. They use massive servers that take a huge amount of cooling, the travel, the teams, the huge buildings all have an impact so in some cases print marketing might even have a lower impact than digital.
Make an Impression
In a world where we are all retargeted with ads to within in an inch of our lives there can certainly be a fair bit of ad blindness as well cynicism about digital media. In certain sectors like luxury products making an impact on high net worth people is the only way to get a response. This is where print can still play a valuable role. Brochures and advertising in niche high end magazines can still make a big impact. In fact, because we see so much in the way of digital marketing a print advert or publication can really hit the mark. Print expert Trevor Holding from a company called Action Press says “a brochure can not only make a strong brand impression, it also last longer and offers the chance for prospective clients to see products multiple times”. It is this impact and potential longevity that means print certainly isn’t dead and can still be a strong player.
Let’s face it, we may spend a lot of time online, but we still appreciate texture, touch, weight and the general feel of things. We love tech that looks and feels amazing, we love watches, clothes and a million other physical things and to that end a lot of people still like printed products too. It is true, print sales of cheap feeling magazines have tanked, newspapers are mucky and generally on a downward spiral but there are other types of printed product that seem to be doing well. Heavy matte finish publications that may only come out 2 or 4 times a year are doing well. Brochures and high GSM flyers still seem to work too. It is all about quality these days. Getting a “magazine” that is more like a soft cover book with mega high-quality editorial and images can become something that sits on a coffee table for months. Here are a few suggestions…you will never have head of but are very popular. Low quality print may be dead but ultra high-quality print is having a great time!
There is Still a Place for Print
The bottom line here is that if the printing process meets the right eco criteria it can be very sustainable, if the quality of the content and the product is high enough print still has a roll to play in both marketing and media in general. Print has certainly taking a beating, but this pressure has forced change for the better. We now have more sustainable and higher quality options to choose from and we will hopefully continue to see a bit of a decline is the low quality less sustainable side of print.
Photo credits: coworkinglondon.com