Multi-channel marketing breathes life into print


It’s no secret that print channels have taken a beating lately, with consumer demand shifting away from traditional media.

Millennial audiences are immersed in digital media and, at a glance, seem oblivious to the impact of print. “Content is king” has been Internet marketing’s rallying cry since 2009, and modern marketers have focused campaigns more and more exclusively on pushing out digital content via blogs, social media, online ads and search engine optimization.

So what does this mean for print? Is lowered demand for long-revered media such as newspapers a fad or a trend that points to a fundamental shift in consumer behavior?

Despite the popular assertion that “print is dead,” ad sales indicate that some forms of print advertising are more viable than ever.

For example, fashion magazine Vogue enjoyed its second-highest number of ad sales ever in July of 2013, a trend shared that same year by many other entertainment magazines, including Glamour, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Esquire.

Presentation on the print medium

Daniel Dejan — a marketing consultant and print and creative manager for Sappi Fine Paper — will be in town next month to present how print is being used by brands today and how digital and print channels can be combined to generate powerful results.

Dejan will deliver the 90-minute presentation “Print & Everything Else” at the American Marketing Association of West Michigan’s monthly luncheon on Jan. 13, at the Calvin College Prince Conference Center, from 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

People can register online.

Looking closer at print

Sales trends notwithstanding, Dejan emphasized the core benefits of print.

“Print has been around for such a long time that we have metrics, analytics, ways to measure and quantify the results — things which we’re only now learning to do with social media,” he said.

Print offers a credibility no other medium can offer. Digital publishing might be prolific, but in most cases the “churnalism” of Internet content reduces the authoritative impact. However, an ad or editorial you can hold in your hand has both impact and legitimacy.

As for who can be reached with print, Dejan said that there’s still plenty of demand for print in the millennial generation.

“We haven’t lost the younger demographics,” he said. “They still love print. They just love it in different forms. They love magazines, books, direct mail, and they love personalization. They love to see their name in print.”

Multi-channel campaigns

While bullish demand for print in entertainment and other industries has left many marketers scratching their heads, integrated marketers view it as an opportunity to close the gap between print and digital. According to Dejan, closing that gap is the most effective strategy modern brands and marketers can take.

“Yes, this is the digital age, and the future lies in digital technology,” writes Mike Leister at Business2Community. “But if you want your marketing strategy to be truly effective, think multi-channel.”

Integrated marketing campaigns combine the best qualities of print and digital media and work together to reach their objectives. Print such as magazine advertising and direct mail continue to be one of the most cost-effective ways to reach a targeted audience, while permission-based email marketing and social media offer low-cost ways to engage audiences where they live and play. Effectively combining the two channels requires an understanding of how they’re used differently — and what audiences expect from them.

For example, audiences in digital spaces, such as email marketing, expect advertisers to ask permission to deliver their message. Emails going to readers who volunteered their email address in a website signup form have an exponentially higher open rate than their non-permissive counterpart: spam.

“If I want your email address, the best way to get it is to either send you a piece of direct mail or to use magazine advertising, because I can do supremely targeted marketing using direct marketing and magazines, and the fact is these channels are still the best way to reach the largest audience,” Dejan said.

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