Why Consumers — Even Millennials — Still Love Print Marketing
Why does print remain so relevant today as a communication channel, even for Millennials? To answer this question, we sat down with Daniel Dejan of Sappi North America, which has done extensive research on the neuroscientific effect of print and how it fits into our multichannel marketing world.
Interview with Daniel Dejan on Print Marketing
RRD: The way we use print today has changed — obviously you don’t see as many newspapers. But you can sign up for a direct mail subscription box for almost anything nowadays. How and why do people consume print today?
Daniel Dejan, Sappi North America
Daniel Dejan: Sappi North America has conducted neuroscientific research on this very topic. What we discovered after 18 months of research is that all demographics — from the younger demographics to the older demographics — love print. They just use it differently.
There are certain things that we want access to immediately — current news, the latest pricing of something, directions, communication in real-time. But with all of these devices (most people own at least three) we reach the point of monitor fatigue. It is an actual physiological symptom where between looking at a computer, constantly checking your phone, possibly having your tablet on at the same time, going home and turning on the TV, playing games, etc…The brain reaches a point of saturation. And when it does, it can no longer take in any more. It’s part of the reason why evening television programs are much more active, colorful, and musical — we go into the audience/spectator mode because quite frankly we are burnt out from absorbing information all day.
So when you reach that point of digital information overload — whether you realize it or not — even younger demographics will seek out printed materials.
Secondly, neuroscientific research explains why people are still attracted to print as a medium. When we read ink on paper, we stimulate four senses (the smell, sound, feel, and sight of the paper). The more senses we stimulate, the more value we put in the content, and the more we retain the information.
Neuroscientific research explains why people are still attracted to print as a medium. When we read ink on paper, we stimulate four senses (the smell, sound, feel, and sight of the paper). The more senses we stimulate, the more value we put in the content, and the more we retain the information.
RRD: What does this mean for marketers?
Dejan: We as consumers associate physical printing with more value around a brand and company. Anyone can put online content out for free, but printing is more of an investment. Marketers are also getting better at personalizing their print marketing directly to the consumer, which makes the message more effective.
RRD: When people say things like “Millennials don’t care about print,” how do you respond? Is print still relevant to younger generations and why? For Millennials, is print marketing dead?
Dejan: We thought we had lost the Millennials. We came to find out we weren’t losing the Millennials, they just have more choice. Millennials use print differently. They use print to complement their digital consumption, whereas older demographics use digital to complement print. A 2015 study by Sappi found that an overwhelming 92% of college students surveyed said they prefer reading in print over any form of online media. Respondents explained physical printed pieces offer fewer distractions and eye strain/headaches.
Millennials use print differently. They use print to complement their digital consumption, whereas older demographics use digital to complement print.
RRD: What do marketers need to do in order to make the most of their print media marketing campaigns in 2018 and beyond?
Dejan: The fastest growing media right now is video. YouTube is growing faster than Facebook. We love video. Most of us grew up with television. How does this apply to print? The most important aspect of print marketing is looking into augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality.
RRD: But can’t AR sometimes seem lackluster in execution — how do we prevent that?
Dejan: One huge challenge right now is that we have financial people making aesthetic and marketing decisions. Rather than “how do we do it right?” we might say “how can we do it less expensively?”
We’ve seen it in traditional printing — when you use lesser quality and no effects, you can save money, but it doesn’t enhance your brand. The companies we admire look expensive, and the ROI is so much higher for them. The reality is, we have to let the creatives do their jobs in order to create engaging marketing. We should never stop fighting for a little more budget to make pieces truly extraordinary.
Daniel Dejan is North American ETC Print & Creative Manager for Sappi North America. You can contact him on LinkedIn or Twitter.
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This post was originally published April 2, 2018.