Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Print Versus Digital Marketing," takes a look at the ongoing debate regarding which strategy is the most effective and efficient marketing method. Some marketers would agree that the most effective marketing results involve a broad media mix. On the other hand, it's important to note that the answer usually depends on several factors, including which target group, type of offer, competitors, and other KPIs.
To that point, it becomes much more difficult to reap results when the market is small. Want to catch enough fish to make the investment worthwhile? Then one has to fish where the target fish are in abundance. Digital marketing, on the surface, would be the environment that contains a wealth of targets.
Further, we acknowledge that most marketers would point to the fact that the online digital world is where the majority of targets congregate. However, a logistic question looms over that vast number of prospects. How can you reach enough of them to move the revenue needle in a crowded marketplace?
In the B2C sector, there are a plethora of accounts that point to the successes of digital-only marketing efforts. Digital marketing is a useful tool; however, depending on the product set you're selling online, results can differ widely. There are plausibly more instances of digital marketing strategies failing than succeeding, especially when one considers that on average, 293 billion emails are sent daily. Then one must note that daily email open rate results average in the single-digit range, from 0.1 to 0.3%. That's not to suggest that email marketing is a bust. Email marketing does have its place in the marketing mix and will continue to do so. However, the danger remains when a marketing initiative relies solely on email marketing strategies.
The Tortoise Beats the Hare
The successful result of any digital campaign involves the target market receiving the offering. If the product is digital and can be accessed online or downloaded, marketers benefit from a virtual link environment.
Then there's the aspect of social media. Social media is predominately used by people who want to share social aspects of their life. What they are into, what they have done, where they spend their time, and of course, responding to others in kind. However, the goal of social media marketing is to get your offering into the hands of the consumer.
The Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and all things digital have led many marketers, brands and media pundits to declare that digital is the leader and that all other marketing avenues don't compete. However, this can be shortsighted, especially if the logic is speed. When it comes to speed, let's not forget that the tortoise outran the hare. Here are some ideas to ponder as you consider the digital versus print debate:
As opposed to the ongoing fake news and content debacle, print marketing offers trustworthiness, and credibility.
Print marketing tends to have a higher visibility rate, as print collateral cannot be deleted with the click of a mouse. Targeted prospects will eventually hold that product in the real world, and not on a cell phone.
Print marketing is able to target both those who are consistently logged on as well as those who rarely log on.
Depending on the industry sector, competitive benchmarks, the state of the economy, and consumer confidence, a range of reports suggest that media marketing should be a mixed bag. To gain a better understanding of how digital and print fare in the real world, we've decided to list a few business professionals whom we quote from a Minuteman Press Article.
Robert Barrows Advertising & Public Relations, R. M. Barrows, Inc.
"Whenever anybody asks if newspapers are dead (or still relevant)…I generally say to them, 'Just wait until they write something bad about you…. you'll think everyone in the world saw that article…Now, from a marketing standpoint: All kinds of media should be considered when you are putting together a media plan."
Sean Desilva Owner, Every Last Spot
"You have to be smarter to make print ads work these days. I put together a local marketing coop with other home trades and food businesses…My retention rate with the coop partners has been quite high; my own business sees a 2.5-3x ROI on every monthly mailing. A good indication to measure your ROI is how many customers you find redeeming your printed coupons."
Drew Cerullo Better Profit Growth
"My viewpoint on this may not be what a lot of people want to hear, because digital is 'sexy' right now (social media is all the rage). But when it comes down to solid data and ROI, direct mail wins for me every time. Digital media is inundated with ads. There's constant clickbait on social media and a thousand things jumping out to distract potential customers, fighting for their attention. Typical Facebook ads get 2% CTR. But with direct mail, I've gotten my clients in industries from orthodontia to title agencies as much as an 18% response rate with direct mail sequence."
Drew Sandholm Marketing Director, Quontic Bank
"From postcards to newsletters, print marketing might pack less of a punch than it used to, but it's by no means obsolete … a strong marketing strategy incorporates both where appropriate … if all anyone gets in their mailbox is bills and junk mail, wouldn't a personalized letter or card standout? Taking the time to handwrite someone a letter says a lot. It means you think so highly of the person that you took the time and effort to write. That personal touch could make all the difference."
Marc Prosser Small business expert, Fit Small Business
"Mail and print materials still have the ability to break through the clutter. While the average person might see hundreds or thousands of online ads, at most there might be only 20 letters in a mailbox. That means you don't have to compete with so many others to get their attention. Mail gets attention. More attention than digital media but happens to be more expensive."
CJ Levendoski Action Point Marketing
"We like to tell our clients, 'If you want to catch fish, you have to fish where the fish are!' And don't get me started on millennials!! Did you know the average American checks their social media feed 17 times a day? A millennial spends an average of 5.4 hours a day on social media. And in veterinary medicine, the millennials are replacing baby boomers in pet ownership and yearly spends. It's fascinating!"
In conclusion, these business experts recognize the over-saturation of digital marketing. Billions of emails create a grand challenge for garnering lasting impressions, and the impression model is what lifts brand recognition, equity, and value. Conversely, print can offer that special coupon that can travel with you in the physical realm, from refrigerator ads to magazine tear-outs, to catalogs. It depends on what the company is trying to market, the industry, and the target demographics. As a result, some may find that a mix of digital and print should be in play, and that market factors should help to determine which tool should be the primary marketing tool.
For example, if baby boomers are the target for a financial product, then a direct mail campaign would be the best choice. On the other hand, if the business is a medical organization, then considerations should include both print and digital. That said, test all ideas, especially if you are starting a new business, rebranding, or launching a new product.
Both digital and print remain viable marketing solutions, and organizations should always consider both marketing tools when making marketing strategy decisions. Also, it is crucial to understand the cost versus price equation. While print may seem more expensive upfront than digital, the response rate and sell-through rate could make print the more efficient marketing tool. Test the waters and see how the fish respond. Thanks for reading "Print Versus Digital Marketing."
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