The power of print

June 7, 2021

The print v digital debate is not a new conversation. And the perceived demise of print has been well- documented over the past couple of decades. But as a newspaper design graduate, why do I, and so many others, still have such an attachment to print?

We have all seen, and indeed been part of, the shift to a new digital age.

Yet clients continue to invest in print, so what is it exactly that makes it so unique?

In this, we need to consider how the physical nature of print can be worked in a way that other mediums cannot.

It can deliver an interactive experience through touch, sight and smell, and can evoke the feeling of being part of a bigger collective, or community.

We live in a world of diminishing attention spans. So how can an advertiser capture your attention, and keep it?

With print, there is a sense of time and purpose; taking a moment out of your routine to give focus on something that feels a bit less ordinary.

And when so many of us look at a screen all day, it’s a perfect distraction. As a regional voice for business, a
localised audience is incredibly valuable, and print marketing is key to this. What is your message and who are you trying to communicate to?

A print product can put your business in front of a targeted demographic, so you know exactly who is giving their attention.

Earlier this year, we conducted a market research project, with regionwide business partners openly, and importantly anonymously, sharing their views on the values of North East Times Magazine.

The research reflects the unmistakable move towards digital in every aspect of media consumption.

However, the feeling we garnered is that, above all, print stands for trust, integrity and quality; a rubberstamp of approval from the North East business community.

I think trust is important here, and there is much research striving to understand the perception of the printed v digital word.

The print format has been researched, considered and resourced.

And when a business has a lot to communicate, a post limited by characters or a flash of information, albeit impactful, doesn’t provide the same room to explore a considered viewpoint.

This is where long-form journalism shines, and you can articulate your brand’s story.

As decision-making becomes ever more complex, this information is vital to demonstrate value proposition and encourage cognitive thinking and problem solving.

Considered wording with crafted branded advertising may provide the turning point for your relationship building.

Long-form print journalism can also support your business to provide understanding of how you are delivering on your promises. Perhaps seeing this in print feels more resolute and committed?

On balance, digital communication can produce cost-effective and instantaneous results, and has huge potential to scale through digital networks that print undeniably does not.

But are we reaching a tipping point, where our familiarity with digital and the resulting noise is beginning to blunt its effectiveness?

You can’t compare the reach of digital to the reach of print.

I would encourage marketers to be having a conversation around objectives – what do you want to achieve from a campaign? That is where print can make a difference.

And it doesn’t have to be one or another. In fact, such a binary approach could end up being counterproductive. In an ever-changing landscape, we need to think differently. Every channel should work together as part of an integrated omni-channel strategy for long-term value.

There needs to be an element of intuition in campaign-led marketing because sometimes that’s when the magic happens.

Ultimately, print needs to find a way to exist in an increasingly digital space.

That doesn’t mean you have to translate print to digital, it’s just about how to exist in harmony.

Pete Mallon
Managing director