Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Keep the power of print in your marketing

Print is not dead, it’s alive and well.

Joe Pulizzi, founder at Content Marketing Institute, offered his opinion in a LinkedIn post: “While I would not want to be in the broad-based, horizontal print game (ala USA Today), highly niche, highly targeted publications are flourishing as a marketing tool.” Here’s how the power of print can accelerate your marketing results.

Those focused on the world of online marketing and digital may predict the death of  printed marketing materials. There was a time when pundits predicted radio would be dead after television appeared. Then television would be skewered by the internet. Yet each form of media has its place in our minds and schedules.

The evolution of the internet doesn’t kill off these channels… it makes us look at them differently because they are used differently by consumers. — Joe Pulizzi

Each still has a purpose in your marketing mix. And we believe (and agree with Joe on this) printed materials, in particular targeted magazines, have even greater power than they have had in the past.

Print was my first love in this business

I started in design and marketing in a traditional print world–where graphic design blossomed; paper samples were pored over and treasured; paste-ups were built by hand for every page or spread; inks carefully matched and balanced; and photos lovingly chosen, cropped, enhanced and placed–all before there was an Internet.

I’ve planned, designed, implemented and seen the power of print in a marketing program. Targeted direct mail which compels reading, visually stunning brochures, and magazines that draw a reader in all offer an in-hand, tactile experience that a website or smartphone can’t duplicate.

More people are unplugging

The act of unplugging, turning a page, and reading without a glow or reflection on a screen can be inviting.

In fact Joe’s post discusses how people are choosing to unplug for an “electronics-free Saturday” or completely disconnect for two to three weeks.

In a world buried in electronic connections and obsessed with constant checking of e-mail or social media or 24-hour news, there’s something calming about putting your feet up and reading a printed novel or an interesting magazine.

Examples of the power of print … magazines vs. brochures:

Linfield College junior viewbook as magazine, the power of print

We know a targeted magazine reaches and involves an audience in a way a brochure cannot, and a website won’t. It also opens the door to further exploration, using calls to action to specific URLs with each article.

In our student recruitment suite for Linfield College, instead of a series of traditional viewbooks or mailed brochure, we created a suite of magazines, as shown above.

Why? To tell and not sell. These were information pieces that offered a deeper look at what makes Linfield unique. A series of real stories supported by graphics and beautiful photos is more compelling than a brochure full of facts and descriptions.

A magazine is easier to share and has more staying power than a brochure. It’s more likely to be passed along, kept and referred to. Another advantage? When a magazine is printed in large quantities on a web press, printing costs are much lower than traditional offset/sheet-fed printing.

Church Extension Plan the Power of Print, Partners magazine Partners Final-2For Church Extension Plan, a financial  ministry reaching pastors, Christian investors and the Assemblies of God fellowship, a magazine delivers the power of stories.

Rather than describing the specifics of their loan process or details about their investment products, the Partners magazine tells the stories of the ministries that are growing because they could get a loan, or the investors who are thrilled with the return they’re receiving. It’s the stories, the results and outcomes, the real-life impact that moves people to take action.

There are more reasons to keep the power of print in your marketing program. Joe lists the following:

  • It grabs attention–in the mail or in an office.
  • It focuses on customer retention–a magazine reinforces value, tells stories and keeps customers involved.
  • There are no audience costs as with a subscriber-based magazine–because you distribute where it fits your business model.
  • What’s old is new again–could print be ready for re-birth to combat our obsession with social, mobile, online and digital channels?
  • Find out what questions to ask–print gives you the chance to think about new ideas and opinions, rather than search for answers online.
  • Print still excites people–an article in a printed publication has more presence and is more desirable than an online article.
  • Print  lets people unplug–as noted earlier, unplugging and disconnecting are becoming more appealing to many.

Is it time to tell a bigger story about the results you’ve created for a customer or client, instead of just bullet pointing your products and services? Are you ready to have a marketing piece that people want to keep and share and not round file? Do you want to drive more traffic to your website by using the power of print? Whether B2B or B2C, a targeted magazine will add power to your marketing.

What’s old is new. What you put in someone’s hands will also support your online brand. Synchronize your offline and online brand with great content and the power of print.

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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  1. Telling versus Selling. Good stuff (and reminder) Jennifer.

  2. Great post. Really agree about the power of engaging content – whatever medium it comes to you through. Definitely still a role for print.

    • Thanks Stephen … appreciate the feedback! Yes, we’ve seen really good results with those magazines … people wants stories! They don’t want to be sold! Thanks for reading … and subscribing.


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