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Three Reasons Why Print Collateral Remains Relevant

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Digital marketing has become the way to communicate in the 21st century. Social media, email, search engine marketing, interactive marketing, blogs, wikis, and knols—the list goes on... to include mobile marketing, podcasting, videos.

The first items that B2B marketers would consider cutting if asked to reduce their budget were print advertising and tradeshows (14% each), followed by advertising in general (12%) and direct mail at 8% (responses were open-ended), according to the "B-to-B Marketing in 2008: Trends in Strategies and Spending" study by MarketingProfs.

Also according to the same study: "Of those currently using each tactic, Online Video and Search Marketing budgets are expected to grow by a majority of respondents, with more traditional tactics (e.g., broadcast and print advertising, direct mail and tradeshows) expected to decline by 20% or more. Online Video and Search Marketing are expected to show the greatest increases (55-56% each) in 2008. Also, over half of respondents intend to increase spending on other Web 2.0 media (52%) and Webinars (51%)."

This paints a doom-and-gloom picture for marketing print collateral and augurs a huge surge in digital spending.

Other research reinforces the forecast of growth for digital marketing. According to an August 2008 forecast by eMarketer, despite the economic malaise "Internet advertising [spending] is expected to continue growing in the double digits for the next few years," as follows:

  • 2008: 17.4%
  • 2009: 14.5%
  • 2010: 17.5%
  • 2011: 20.9%
  • 2012: 23.5%
  • 2013: 18.0%


In addition, Internet marketing spending growth in the next 12 months will far outweigh traditional advertising spending, according to "The CMO Survey," conducted by Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and commissioned by the American Marketing Association (September 12, 2008).


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Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, a boutique agency located in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is also a professional speaker, writer, and blogger. She has been contributing to MarketingProfs since 2004. Reach her at elaine@solutionsmc.net.

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  • by Ruth Ann Barrett Tue Jan 13, 2009 via web

    I think the issue of sustainability enters the picture here as well. If you must print then it is well to follow best practices vis-a-vis cradle to cradle. Jeff Mendelsohn of New Leaf Paper only makes "paper with the highest percentages possible of recycled and sustainably harvested fibers, processed without the use of chlorine or chlorine derivatives." He is on a crusade to make the paper industry more sustainable.

    As a direct marketing professional, my bottom line these days is: if you can't personalize it, don't print it and if you do print it, print follow best practices.

  • by Steve Parker Tue Jan 13, 2009 via web

    Thanks Elaine for showing the other side of the coin. Here are a couple more points that might be worth noting. The case for print goes up if you're doing personalized B2B and you're targeting senior execs who just might have a preference for print over spam. And also, there's an inversion argument too. The fewer people who use direct mail and print, the more that those who do actually stand out. The junk mail "noise factor" problem has largely been shifted to email and spam. It may sound trite, but integrated that includes print really works. When I receive a coordinated campaign with timed email, print and online banner ads, I really take notice. It's the multiple touchpoints.

  • by Tony Wanless Wed Jan 14, 2009 via web

    A cognitive point:

    Digital material is usually surfed, in that cognition is more impressionistic than substantive; printed material is dived into, mulled over, and so creates deeper understanding.

    So if your aim is pure shouting style advertising ie "Great Thing, and it's Cheap!", go digital. If it's aimed at persuasion or peripheral learning, print will work better.

    This doesn't address the issues of time and opportunity, however.

  • by Tony Eyles Thu Jan 15, 2009 via web

    Thanks Elaine - great post. Given both sustainability and cost pressures, I expect we will better quality application of print. Print will become a higher grade medium for more personal (special) messages - in addition to considerations of cut-through and cognition.

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