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Do You Know Why Your Competitors Are Using Print?

Written by Charlie Brock Marketing Intern

Why Marketers Use Direct Mail

  • People Engage More With Print
  • Direct Mail Makes a Lasting Impression
  • People Trust Print
  • People Love Personalized Marketing Messages

Many organizations have cut print and mail due to budget restrictions and difficulty in tracking. However, this strategy can have strong negative impacts on marketing results and sales.  Here's why successful marketing teams use print strategically to bolster results.

People Engage More With Print

Despite the growing popularity of electronic media, research shows that print-based content and advertisements offer many advantages over digital. Depending on which resource you look at, you may have a different idea when it comes down to whether digital or print will engage the viewer more. Paper advertisements engage viewers for more time, while digital advertisements are processed more quickly. A study sponsored by Canada Post and performed by Canadian neuromarketing firm, TrueImpact, compared the effects of paper marketing (direct mail) and digital marketing (display ads and emails.) They used eye-tracking and high-resolution EEG brain wave measurements to come to the conclusion that...

Direct Mail Makes a Lasting Impression

According to Forbes, “Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media, suggesting that it is both easier to understand and more memorable... When asked to cite the brand name of an advertisement they had just seen, recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to a direct mail piece rather than a digital ad.” 

While both mediums achieve the goal of grabbing viewer attention, paper ads are found to give people the ability to quickly and confidently remember advertisements and their sources and engage the viewer more. 

People Trust Print

With the internet full of misleading advertisements and pop-up screens, print advertisements remain the most trusted medium for marketing information. Viewers often consider print ads as a more credible source than digital ads and are more likely to read a printed ad than to click on a pop-up window online. People still subscribe to magazines and other sources of physical content and are much more likely to see and react to ads if it is physical print than they are to open and react to emails.  

Nordstrom Blames Weak Performance on Direct Mil Cut

Nordstrom 2019 Catalog

Recently, Co-President Erik Nordstrom announced that Nordstrom Inc. had drastically changed its sales and profits forecast after a noticeably weak performance at the beginning of 2019. Erik blames the weak performance on the decision to stop using direct mail to reach retail customers. The results were dramatic with in-store foot traffic and overall sales significantly decreased. His conclusion was that the “digital-first” approach that his marketing team took could not survive on its own without physical print and direct mail. To try to make up for this fluke they sent out a catalog for their July 2019 Anniversary Sale.

Viewers also prefer print to digital advertisements when it comes to credible news and other information. According to a survey by graphic communications non-profit, TwoSides, 74 percent of their participants worry about misleading information in online news. Most people trust information in newspapers and magazines more than they do on social media platforms. When it comes to trust in the credibility of the company, print overrules digital advertisements.


People Love Personalized Marketing Messages

Print allows more personalization options to create a more targeted advertisement. People respond more to marketing messages when they are more directly related to them. Achieving this goal is easy with direct mail that allows variable print options such as a person’s name, variable art, and variable data to create a more personalized advertisement. 

For example, a smartwatch company can send out direct mail advertisements with the names of each individual recipient, an image of a black smartwatch band going out to all of the male recipients, and an image of a bedazzled smartwatch band going out to all of the female recipients. Although digital ads can also be personalized, physical print is able to personalize advertisements in a way that will engage with the viewer in a more memorable way. 

The Bottom Line

So which medium will result in more sales? The answer is that print drives engagement and sales with digital purchases and eye-catching, personalized, and effective print advertisements. Digital as a medium offers options such as easy access and localization. Print offers many of the same personalization options but is proven to be more impactful and memorable. Print advertisements offer vivid images and tactile stimuli that can grab the attention of viewers and send them directly to the company’s website where they can find more information on the material they received. Marketers should take advantage of both options in order to more effectively deliver their message. The physical presence that print creates is why it remains a popular medium for marketing agencies and can drive digital purchases in a way that digital ads cannot do alone. Choosing the right medium comes down to the individual marketer, what they are trying to accomplish and who their audience is. Whether you prefer print, digital, or a combination of both, Midwest Direct can assist you in all your marketing needs. 

We have good news! Midwest Direct produces and distributes both digital and print ads. We can help you decide the best mix of ads to reach your target market best. Contact us at 1.800.686.6666 to market better with Midwest.

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