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  • GFI Digital

Print’s Role in Today’s Media Mix

With the widespread use of digital media platforms, the value of print is frequently called into question. But printed marketing materials and publications deliver experiences to customers and prospects that digital media can’t replicate. Here are six reasons why print is important and why using it will make a lasting impression on your target market.

1. High level of credibility.

A customer satisfaction study (by Marketing Sherpa) asked consumers: When looking to make a purchasing decision, which types of advertising channels do they trust most? The majority of respondents, 82%, said they trust print.

Print offers a higher level of credibility when compared to online content. Using print is a signal that a company is serious about its business. After all, anyone can send an e-mail. Have you ever counted the number of spam emails you receive in a day? If your marketing strategy heavily relies on email and the internet, chances are that you end up getting lost in the digital noise.

2. Long lifespan.

Digital media is easily forgotten once a prospect clicks on different content. On the other hand, physical brochures and leaflets can be repeatedly referenced. Printed materials can stay in prospects’ offices or homes for months — or even years — after they are received. They can also be passed along to friends or colleagues, maximizing the reach of the communication.

3. Digital fatigue is real.

Video ads and social media may have resonated with consumers before COVID-19, but times have changed. In the early days of the pandemic shutdown, many people had extra leisure time to consume digital content, leading to oversaturation. According to a 2021 survey of consumers (by SG360°), 75% say they are overwhelmed by the number of digital ads they see daily. Print can be a remedy for cutting through the “digital clutter” and re-engaging customers.

4. Creates engaging experiences that form connections.

Research studies often find that print is more engrossing than digital media. A study (by Temple University) performed fMRI brain scans to evaluate responses to physical and digital media in the consumer buying process. The results of the study showed that while participants processed digital ad content more quickly, they spent more time with physical ads.

In addition, when viewing physical ads, participants had a stronger emotional response and remembered them better. Printed ads, though slower to capture attention, leave a longer-lasting impact for easy recall when it’s time to make a purchase decision.

Another important finding from the study is that printed ads triggered activity in the area of the brain (ventral striatum) that processes value and the desirability of featured products, which can signal a greater intent to purchase.

5. Can be customized to an individual recipient.

Innovations in digital printing technology enable images and text in printed pieces to be uniquely tailored to an audience of one. This means marketers can focus budgets on sending printed communications with relevant offers, images and formats that are appealing to individual recipients.

6. Works well with digital media.

Print and digital channels can complement each other. Using print to drive customers online to view videos, order products and access additional content leverages the strengths of multiple media. Adding QR codes, personalized URLs, and augmented reality markers to print opens the opportunity to connect it to digital content. For example, many businesses are finding success using QR codes as a bridge between print and mobile devices. Creative marketers are also embedding augmented reality into flyers and postcards to create immersive customer experiences.

Print Maintains Relevance in the Digital Age

The expansion of communication options offers organizations more choices, but print still plays a vital role. Used on its own or in combination with digital media, print captures attention, generates excitement, facilitates customer engagement and supports mission-critical business activities.


Sources: Ricoh, Napco Research, MarketingSherpa Customer Satisfaction Research Study, The Future of Direct Mail: An Opportunity for Unified Marketing Strategy. SG360°’, Enhancing the Value of Mail: The Human Response, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Postal Service


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