‘Is print dead?’ It’s a question we’re often asked at Sketch Corp, along with: ‘Do other companies still do it?’ ‘Does it still work?’ ‘Is it worth it?’ And so on. Forget what you’ve heard. We’ll tell you what we’ve experienced in the past four years as a marketing agency offering print graphic design as a service (in among our many digital solutions).
We’ve been hit with these questions from genuinely interested SME owners in all industries. They want to know where print is at and whether it’s still a worthwhile part of their marketing mix in terms of ROI and brand building. If you’re weighing up whether a brochure, printed capability statement or snail mail-out is worth the paper it’s printed on, it’s a GREAT question.
Let’s start with the short answer. NO. Print is not dead. Its role may have changed, but it’s definitely still around and companies continue to brief in reams of print collateral each week. If print graphic design is the right strategy for your business and what you’re trying to achieve, you should certainly consider it.
Of course, the budget for print graphic design has dropped because we now have a little thing called The Internet. That was always going to have a huge impact on print. Now business owners and marketing managers have options for affordable advertising that would have been inconceivable 10 years ago. The goal posts have shifted.
But is print dead? Absolutely not.
What has changed are all the avenues available to businesses now. If you’re weighing up print possibilities, they need to be carefully assessed in terms of probable results versus digital channels. How is print material likely to perform?
This is a difficult to predict because print is notoriously tough to measure. That’s its biggest disadvantage. With digital, you can measure a campaign’s performance instantly. AdWords, remarketing and Facebook ads, for example, are transparent, trackable and can be analysed in real time. With print, not so much.
You’ve got to consider your budget and where your target audience is ‘hanging out’ and digesting info. How you want your audience to behave is important too. Getting a reader to go from a print to a digital destination without a clickable link is a BIG ask. How much is that behaviour worth to you in terms of ROI? Pondering these questions will help you understand if print is the right way to go or not.
When print is and isn’t the answer
Let’s say your budget is $100 and you want a visitor to review a product in your e-commerce shop. A digital ad wins hands down.
HOWEVER, if the value of what you’re selling is up there (in the thousands) and involves a series of pitch meetings, people want something they can hold in their hands. Same goes for if your service offering is complex and technical. People want something they can keep on their desk, contemplate and show other stakeholders.
The old ‘leave-behind’. An impressive, professionally designed sales brochure or flyer with key information laid out and testimonials there in black and white. This material clinches new business for our clients every day of the week. Here, print graphic design pays off repeatedly.
But it doesn’t mean that any old material will do. Today’s marketplace is savvy. They see well-designed marketing material all the time and their expectations are high. If you’re trying to establish your professionalism or show off your capability, it needs to be embraced as an art form, carefully thought through and updated periodically to stay current.
This is where your marketing agency can help with crafting copy, selecting images and making sure the print graphic designin your brochure, flyer or corporate document is spot on and sending all the right messages.