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Six Reasons Print Belongs in Your Media Mix (or Why Digital Popularity Brings Print Opportunity)

by Gordon Plutsky  |  
August 31, 2010
  |  8,883 views

Just because marketers are jumping on the interactive-marketing bandwagon in droves doesn't mean that things on the interactive side are all rosy.

Sure, with the rise in popularity of email, websites, video, social media, mobile apps, behavioral targeting, etc., magazine advertising and direct mail have seen a steady decline, ad-supported magazines are diminishing, and costs and environmental concerns have taken a toll on direct mail.

But the decreasing numbers for print don't necessarily mean a particularly high return on investment (ROI) for all digital initiatives.

For instance, email overload and clutter have resulted in stagnant response rates for email marketers. On average, consumers receive 14-15 emails per day from companies or brands (per IDG Connect, 2010), in addition to the countless business-related emails they receive.

Because the cost of sending emails is so low, most marketers are planning to increase their outbound mailing. Accordingly, consumers' inboxes will get fuller and spam filters will inevitably become more aggressive to compensate, making it even harder to connect with the target audience.


The jury is still out as to how consumers respond to advertising on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. There has been consumer pushback to each, including popular movements to delete Facebook accounts over privacy concerns.

As new government bodies are formed to regulate Internet marketing, new obstacles are introduced every day: Even a few members of Congress have voiced privacy concerns about behavioral targeting (just when marketers were making real progress on the social-media ROI front).

But with the decline in printed advertising clutter reported by American households comes opportunity. According to Pitney Bowes, the typical American household receives roughly 15-17 pieces of advertising-related mail per week. That is minimal, considering that consumers are getting the same number of emails every day.


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Gordon Plutsky is the director of marketing and research at King Fish Media (www.kingfishmedia.com).

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  • by Elaine Fogel Tue Aug 31, 2010 via web

    Yes, yes, and yes! Same mindset from me. :) Thanks, Gordon.
    http://www.marketingprofs.com/9/print-collateral-remains-relevant-fogel.asp

  • by Pete Healy Wed Sep 1, 2010 via web

    An excellent reminder of the ongoing value of print in the total marketing mix. Your call-out of benefits is especially good. Well done!

  • by Joanne Taylor, Boise Thu Sep 2, 2010 via web

    Good read. This post is especially valuable for young people in marketing/communication roles who have not had much training in traditional methods. The benefit that resonated with me most: #4-Print can be integrated with online tactics: digital editions, mobile apps, social media, and commerce websites. True, and effective.

  • by Stephanie Janard Tue Sep 7, 2010 via web

    Gordon, thanks for the informative article. Good information here. You mention that over 80% of consumers use more than one medium for purchasing decisions - at least one reason for this could be that people differ in how they like to process information, much like how students differ in how they absorb and retain knowledge. Some respond well to highly visual demos, while others prefer text-based info. Indeed, many people prefer hard paper in hand when it comes to really focusing on a particular subject, whether they got it in in the mail or downloaded it from a website.

  • by Mik Pam Tue Sep 14, 2010 via web

    I love this article it was such a great read . It is highly relevant to our industry. Can I repost this to our blog and just put an attribution link? Thanks

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