This is the first of a three-post MarketCopywriter series on copywriting and marketing with print collateral.
For years digital doomsayers have declared that print advertising is as washed-up as a morning-after disco diva. By association, advertising’s less glamorous cousin—print collateral—should be broken-heeled and hobbling home in shame, too.
But like Gloria Gaynor, print marketing survived.
And just as Gloria created fanatically faithful audiences in her heyday, print marketing continues to engage and convert key customer segments like no other media.
If you’re a copywriter, graphic designer or other marketing creative, you’ll want to note the professional opportunities.
Did you think print would lay down and die?
First, let’s make it clear that no one’s predicting print’s resurgence to pre-digital preeminence. But for certain products, customers and campaigns, printed marketing tools remain key persuaders.
As always, it’s crucial to know thy customer—and mix media accordingly. Today New Media is not so new—or so intimidating. More and more marketers feel free to pick, choose and lose media at will—or to break onto the digital dance floor with their own mix. Even in these recessionary times, some are integrating print and digital tools with stunning success.
Who reads collateral these days? About 60% of your B2B tech customers.
You and I may spend the workday in front of a screen filled with 20+ browser tabs. But guess what? A significant number of your customers don’t.
- 21% of Americans have never visited a website, sent an email or used a search engine, reports Elaine Fogel at MarketingProfs.com.
- 68% of American adults feel more comfortable when they have something on paper than on screen, according to a survey by Harris Interactive.
- 60% of all B2B technology buyers report that brochures influenced their purchasing decisions, as noted in an Eccolo Media survey (PDF).
Case study: My mother-in-law
But who needs industry surveys when I have my own mother-in-law to prove a point? Yes, my 86-year old mother-in-law recently drove home the truism that print ain’t dead yet.
Maybe it’s because she was raised in relative commercial isolation: Growing up in the Caribbean, colorful print collateral must have been an enticing novelty. Or maybe it’s because, as a career Naval officer’s wife, she lived all over the world and relied on print materials as cultural touchstones and practical shopping aids. Whatever the reason, my mother-in-law loves direct mail and glossy collateral.
For years she’s ca-chinged a small fortune to direct mail merchants like Franklin Mint, Harry & David and Omaha Steaks—and sent their products to our family.
My beef with digital-centric grassfed meat marketers
Omaha Steaks does a booming direct sales business—currently serving 1.2 million active customers—supported by copious print collateral.
Our family—half vegetarians, half grassfed, small-AG, ethically-raised meat evangelists—are, um, not Omaha’s target customers.
I’ve tried to explain the grassfed value proposition to my mother-in-law. I’ve attempted to direct her to various grassfed meat websites.
But my mother-in-law doesn’t like to shop online—a preference typical of her generation: Half of all senior Americans don’t use the Internet. The other half most frequently go online to use email, search, and find health information, according to Pew Research Publications.
My mother-in-law prefers to shop by perusing bundled product offerings presented through print ads, direct mail and lots and lots of collateral.
Too bad four out of four pastured, grassfed meat farmers I contacted had no glossy collateral materials. None. Nada. Zero.
Are you missing out on sales by skipping collateral?
My point? My mother-in-law could be a cash cow to the right grassfed beef farmer. And, moving forward, these niche marketers are missing out on an even larger chunk of change: According to Forbes.com, seniors will make up 12% of the US population by 2015, followed by older baby boomers—both demographics traditionally ecommerce-wary—whose numbers will burgeon to 11%.
That’s almost a quarter of all American consumers—in niches with more disposable income than most. Admittedly all aren’t into grassfed beef, but even a fraction—well, you do the math.
Need more pro-print persuasion?
Still not convinced your customers respond to collateral? Don’t see yourself using a brochure anywhere in your sales cycle? Hmmm. Come back for tomorrow’s post—or subscribe to my blog and get it delivered to your email inbox—to discover 10 Ways Dead-Tree Print Brochures Improve Your Digital-Age Marketing.
Photo courtesy of DocklandsBoy