Why Are Marketers Blind to the Power of Print?
Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, posted a great piece in Crain’s Cleveland Business last month in support of print.
Highlights include the following list of Eight Reasons to rethink print:
Here are a few reasons why there might be an amazing opportunity for your brand in print:
It grabs attention
Have you noticed how many fewer magazines and print newsletters you are getting in the mail these days? I don’t know about you, but I definitely pay more attention to my print mail. There’s just less mail, so more attention is paid to each piece (I actually get excited when Inc. magazine arrives at the office). Opportunity? With traditional magazines like Newsweek, SmartMoney and others ceasing publication, there is a clear opportunity for brands to fill the gap.
Its focus on customer retention
Historically, the reason why custom print magazines and newsletters were developed by brands was for customer retention purposes. But today, one of the biggest problems marketers have with their content is that they forget to nurture customers after the purchase decision was made. Brands are so infatuated with top-of-the-funnel clicks, conversions and social shares that we’ve gone blind to other marketing goals that are tough to accomplish through digital only. Not every marketing goal should include a click or a conversion.
There are no audience development costs
Traditional publishers expend huge amounts of time and money qualifying subscribers to send out their magazines. Many times, publishers need to invest multiple dollars per subscriber per year for auditing purposes (They send direct mail, they call… they call again… so that the magazine can say that their subscribers have requested the magazine. This is true for controlled [free] trade magazines).
If marketers want to distribute a magazine to their customers, they just use their customer mailing list. That’s a big advantage.
And isn’t it easier to keep a customer than gain a new customer? Marketers need to focus on more than just filling the lead pipeline for sales.
No reliance on advertisers
Traditional print magazines are not ceasing because people aren’t reading print…it’s because advertisers aren’t supporting the medium. Talk to any niche business publisher and you’ll find this to be fact.
But brands aren’t beholden to outside entities to fund their print magazine projects. You either budget for it or not. You don’t have to fill X number of ad pages to make the publication go to print. You don’t have to cut pages from the folio because a big advertiser dropped out. Brands have all the flexibility that traditional publishers don’t have.
What’s old is new again
Social media, online content and iPad applications are all part of the marketing mix today. Still, what excites marketers and media buyers is what is not being done. They want to do something different… something new. It’s hard to believe, but the print channel could be on the verge of a rebirth. Is it possible to see a golden age in niche, high-quality print, like we are seeing in television?
Customers still need to know what questions to ask
We love the Internet because buyers can find answers to almost anything. But where do we go to think about what questions we should be asking? I talked to a publisher recently who said this:
“The web is where we go to get answers but print is where we go to ask questions.”
The print vehicle is still the best medium on the planet for thinking outside the box and asking yourself tough questions based on what you read — it’s lean back versus lean forward. If you want to challenge your customers, print is a viable option.
Print still excites people
I talked to a journalist the other day who said it’s harder and harder to get people to agree to an interview for an online story. But mention that it will be a printed feature and executives rearrange their schedules. The printed word is still perceived as more credible to many people than anything on the web. It goes to the old adage, “If someone invested enough to print and mail it, it must be important.”
We’ve seen this firsthand with our magazine, Chief Content Officer. Contributors love being featured on the website, but they crave having their article in the printed magazine. It’s amazing how different the perception is of the print versus online channel when it comes to editorial contribution. This goes as well for consumers.
Print lets people unplug
More and more, people are actively choosing to unplug, or disconnect themselves from digital media (for example, check out this Fast Company cover story on Baratunde Thurston severing his connection from the web for 25 days). I’m finding myself turning off my phone and email more to engage with printed material. Today, I relish the opportunities when I can’t be reached for comment.
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