Why everyone is falling in love with print again

by FESPA | 31/05/2017
Why everyone is falling in love with print again

In this incredibly convenient and efficient digital age, why are we still hung up on print? You might not believe that this is the case, but it’s true.

Research shows that:

  • 46% of U.S. Internet users said they only read printed books [1]
  • 56% of all consumers trust print marketing more than any other advertising method [2]
  • The average reader of a branded magazine will spend up to 20 to 25 minutes with it, rather than the two minutes you hope for online [3]

So I ask again, why can’t we let print go? Print is like a relationship, we keep going back to it for one reason only: the way it makes us feel. Every relationship we have, we are in because of some emotional connection. When done well, your print media can evoke almost every emotion, which in turn increases your advertising effectiveness.

Print: The Sensory Experience

As print is tangible, it stimulates our senses. Having the weight of print in your hand already establishes a connection, which in turn transfers this credibility to the content. Now it’s up to the print itself to build the relationship, by triggering our senses.

The sensory experience begins with the feeling of the paper, followed by the smell of the ink or added scent, the sound of the pages as you turn them, even the colours and images that are used can make you feel a certain way. Have you ever stroked a brochure cover that has a velvet finish? Or inhaled a new book smell? Then you know exactly what I mean!

It has been shown that “when brands appeal to more than three senses, advertising effectiveness will increase with 70%” [4]. This makes total sense when you think about it. If a brochure has quality paper, you might note this favourable quality and move on.

However, if that brochure also has a soft touch laminate cover, design that pops, includes smells for you to engage with, and has useful content that is relevant to you, you are more likely to revel in the sensory experience and become a loyal customer! Print should be about taking people on a journey, not just educating them. 

Why Evoking Emotion in Marketing Is so Powerful

1. Print is more memorable

We all know that we tend to remember things more if it made us feel strongly. This is exactly the same for print. For example, as customers feel or smell your print, these tactile memories will always be associated with you.

How often have you randomly inhaled a particular scent and it’s taken you back to that memory? We all have, and it is this nostalgia that is actually the most powerful emotion that we can evoke. 

Print in particular is a great way to stimulate nostalgia, making your customers long for the days where things were simpler. As they now associate this simplicity with what you offer, they are more likely to choose you to keep making them feel this way. When you invoke people’s emotions, this makes you, your services and your message more memorable. 

2. Print is more engaging

As well as engaging our senses, print also engages our minds. Today, we tend to use the internet for finding answers to almost anything, but where do we go to think about what questions we should be asking? This is where print comes in!

When we get so engrossed in a newspaper article or textbook, the content makes us ask so many questions that we feel we need to take a step back to digest what we’ve just read. This is where you’ll find yourself leaning back in your chair staring off into the distance.

Do you get like this when you read something online? Not often. I normally tend to lean into the computer screen when I’m reading, and forget what I’ve read not long after. 

When people read information on a screen, they often find it more difficult to digest. This is because it causes a ‘flicker effect’ with your eyes, making you scan information which is harder for the brain to process. By not processing everything that you read, it’s no wonder that we still turn to print to engage with and ask ourselves those tough questions.  

3. Print can be more personal 


The more personalised the experience, the happier the customer.

As I said previously, the tangibility of print is what makes it credible to us, and without either party realising, this is all you need to form a personal relationship with each other. When you have printed materials, all with a consistent brand, this immediately establishes trust. You’ve, after all, taken time and effort into creating these quality materials, so the customer knows from the get go that you are serious about your business.

You can then further establish this relationship by sending out personalised print, such as thank you cards. Building trust is essential for your business. It is one of those strong emotions that solidifies a relationship, and once compromised cannot be mended.

Print can also make you more personable. By simply including an image of yourself on your print, it reminds people that there is a face behind your business. People love people, so they are more likely to follow you as a person than your company. And of course, ultimately, people buy from people. 

4. Print puts you ahead of your competitors

Although we like to be up-to-date and in fashion, we also love when something that’s ‘retro’ becomes ‘trendy’ again. As electronic gadgets, social media and online content is all part of the modern marketing, what excites marketers and buyers today is something different! Enter, print! With so many different ways to use it, it’s a very exciting marketing tool to play around with. And what happens when consumers are excited? They buy.  

5. Print cuts through the digital noise 

With more and more people actively choosing to unplug themselves, this is a real problem for online marketing. With print, this is not an issue. Print isn’t noisy, it doesn’t bombard you with distractions and ads, and it doesn’t give you a headache.

In fact, print is sometimes used to un-wind! When was the last time you put your feet up and read a book or magazine to relax? Often, tablets just don’t have the same effect. 

So with more and more people falling in love with print again, it’s a great time to be using print marketing! You can establish relationships with your audience by evoking emotion, and they are more likely to remember you, your brand and your message. Wouldn’t you rather make someone feel appreciated than throw information at them that they’ll forget? Sounds like time well spent to me!

Written by: Andy Rogers at Xpedient Print


[1] “Do Readers Really Prefer Their Dusty Old Paperbacks To E-Books?” - Forbes 
[2] “Print Marketing Is Still Not Dead” - AllBusiness Networks
[3] “Digital-First Content Marketing: The Return Of Print!” - CMO by Adobe
[4] Martin Lindstrom, writer of Brand Sense.
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