The Power of Print

The most tangible, portable and lasting medium is also extremely effective.


Since we are surrounded by printed materials, it’s easy to overlook print as a communications medium. However, in its Why Print? brochure, the Print Council offers a list of reasons you should include print in your next marketing campaign. Here are a few salient points about the power of print.

Unlike electronic content, print has staying power. For example, magazines can be passed around to two or three people, which gives advertisers added exposure for their marketing messages. Print is also portable. People can pick up flyers or magazines from a newsstand or trade show exhibit.

For direct mail, print is particularly effective. Researchers with the Direct Marketing Association and the Wharton Economic Forecasting Associates determined that U.S. advertisers spend $167 per person in direct mail marketing. That expenditure results in sales of $2,095 worth of goods per person. In other words, print showed a 13-to-1 return on investment.

Another study showed that when online buyers are ready to buy, they seek out print materials. Online consumers who received a printed catalog from a retailer were almost twice as likely to buy at the retailer’s Website than those who didn’t. A 2005 field study by the Direct Marketing Association indicated catalogs accounted for 42% of sales, retail 20%, Websites 26% and other channels accounted for 12%.

power_of_print_chartNewspaper readers also use print for shopping. A 2006 study by the Newspaper Association of America showed that 78% of readers used newspaper inserts to plan shopping, and 76% said that the inserts helped them save money.

Ink-on-paper is familiar and real. People are comfortable with it. A Graphic Design USA survey showed that 71% of designers’ work hours were devoted to print projects. For example, at events, programs, posters and signage all involve print. Anywhere people gather, print offers a platform for marketers to have their message seen.

Although times change, some things remain the same. Print is unlikely to go away because it still is a viable way to communicate. The Magazine Publishers of America studied 36 brands that shifted their ad expenditures from TV to magazines. The results showed that their media effectiveness scores doubled over time. If you are wondering “Why print?” the answer is because it works.