Print Still Matters in the Digital Age!

We’re pleased to share the following contribution from our friend Mark, Semmelmayer Co-President of BMA’s Atlanta Chapter. Bennett Graphics is proud to be associated with BMA and with Mark, personally.

Using the best of both is a powerful 1-2 marketing punch
A colleague in the Business Marketing Association (BMA) recently pointed me to an article that surprised a bit. Published in April 2016, titled “Why Some Publishers are Going Back to Print”, it’s available online in the Recruitment ADVisor.

So, there’s new thinking in the halls of trade publishing houses, with implications for B2B marketers. Not just in print advertising, but in all manner of printed marketing materials. Fundamentally, the post lists three reasons for this newer line of thinking (paraphrasing here):

Emphasis on editorial -A digital publication can morph into many things beyond the intended core content. This split focus can take away from communication and the perceived value of the written word.

Premium product –The best designed online publication is just a disembodied experience. By contrast, a printed material has a physical presence that lends both a tactile experience and a sense of genuine gravitas to the content.

Communications impact – Readers of online publications tend to have their attention batted around by ads, links, and other distraction. The print environment offers a deeper, more focused experience.

When it comes to digital, don’t let age fool you
In an article in the Washington Post , February 2016, Michael Rosenwald, dispelled the myth of preference for digital information by those he called “digital natives”…college students and others under the age of 25. “Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises, given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally.”

What print does that digital alone can’t
In an article, published April, 2013 in the Scientific American, Ferris Jabr states it bluntly: “Evidence from laboratory experiments, polls and consumer reports indicates that modern screens and e-readers fail to adequately recreate certain tactile experiences of reading on paper that many people miss. More importantly, they prevent people from navigating long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way.”

Print marketing is alive and well. So is digital. Make them work together
There are many ways to do it and here are just a couple. In a post written for Online Marketing Insights, Larry Alton, a business consultant specializing in social media, posited 3 ways to combine print and digital to a greater effect than either used alone.

1. Use digital opt-ins for direct mailings
There’s much exchange between digital media and direct mailings. Learning how to maximize these interchanges can elevate the return from both. Get people to opt-in to receive your direct mail with digital campaign, and then use the predictability of direct mail to further drive your online campaign

2. Use QR codes and personalized URLs
QR codes— along with personalized URLs specific to an ad or printed piece— can complement specific campaign goals. QR codes and personalized URLs provide actionable insights into who your customers are and where they’re engaging with your print materials.

3. Combine social media and in-store or trade show displays
In-person events are big for brick and mortars and brands with physical presence. During events, you can distribute print materials and have one-on-one conversations, but you should also look for ways to bring offline customers online. Try a touch that encourages people to follow you on Facebook or Twitter in return for the chance to win a prize.

Insight: Marketing needs to think more inclusively
An open mind about your marketing “vehicles” is of great importance. The marketing process starts with understanding what your customer needs…not what you’re selling…and then creating brand-consistent messages, delivered where, when and how the customer wants them. It’s the foundation of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). In fact, the Atlanta Chapter of BMA recently hosted a luncheon featuring Dr. Bob Lauterborn, one of the co-authors of the book,” Integrated Marketing Communications: Putting It All Together”.

If you’re hungry for new ideas, thought leadership and peer-to-peer networking, I’d encourage you to visit the BMA ATL website,, to learn more about BMA and get details on our next event, “The Search for B2B Brand Intimacy”, on April 20.

MARK SEMMELMAYER is a former Chairman of the Business Marketing Association (BMA), Co-President of BMA’s Atlanta Chapter, Recipient of the 2015 G. D Crain Award from BMA and an Inductee in the Business Marketing Hall of Fame. Mark’s a 40-year B2B marketing veteran, including 32-years with Kimberly-Clark. He is the founder and Chief Idea Officer of Pen & Inc. Marketing Communications, a consultancy in Atlanta, GA.