Today, too many of us think exclusively in terms of the digital. In advertising, we think of video, interactive, 3D extravaganzas, or if the tightly targeted, customer-aware campaigns that practically read a subject’s life story before sending them any kind of a sales message.

But paper is still the default for most consumers, and still a vitally powerful tool that can make sure your message reaches them in a positive way.

So, why is paper still important for advertising media?

#1 People trust the printed word

Digital media is undeniably slick, but many feel it is too slick, too targeted, and downright manipulative. According to recent studies, more than half of consumers consider print to be the most trustworthy medium for marketing.

#2 Many print magazines are experiencing growing audiences and profits

Print is still an industry in turmoil, to be sure, but it is not on in collapse! Publications like The Nation and New York Magazine have seen 40-60% growth in single copy sales in a single year. Most others report strong or growing subscription rates, even if their single-copy figures are falling off. This is not in industry ready for ‘the dustbin of history’.

#3 Most snail-mail gets opened, and most e-mail does not

More than ¾ of marketing emails are never opened, and many email systems delete or relegate them to the ‘spam folder’ automatically. Conversely, even though we all remember grumbling about ‘junk mail’, more than ¾ of traditional marketing mailers actually do get opened and at least glanced at.

No matter how advanced digital marketing becomes, there will always be a few things it doesn’t do well. But that is just what it means to the advertiser. Let’s also look at what print can mean to the reader:

How does printed media benefit the consumer?

1) Readers of actual printed media simply retain more from it compared to reading from a screen or even watching a video.
It is a tactile experience: turning the pages, hearing them flex, feeling the texture of the paper. The brain links these feelings into the information read, and the whole package is retained longer and in greater detail.

2) It endures.
An email, a pop-up ad, even a 1080p full-color video lasts only as long as the page stays up, the screen is open, or the server remains online. For those of us who like to take our time with purchasing decisions – especially for big ticket items like cars, homes, all-inclusive vacations and such – we like to have a good old-fashioned pamphlet to hand. Plenty of information, pictures and other data, but we can put it down for a day, a week, a year, and come right back to it. Once it arrives in the mail or is handed to us, we OWN it. Can you imagine the impact of someone feeling that way about your online ads?

If it is well-made and well-written, we actually enjoy looking at it and reading it.

OK, not every piece of marketing collateral is going to be high art. Nonetheless, a well-presented pamphlet or mailer offers a much better ‘user experience’ than the best online ads – at least for some of us.