Print still matters in B2B marketing

We all know why B2B marketers gravitate to digital… it’s incredible! At a glance, digital marketing and advertising present quick reporting, the cost is relatively cheap (compared to print), it’s easy to test and measure, its geo-targetable and you can achieve almost constant exposure through multiple channels. So how can print and environmental media work together with digital to support each other?

The non-executive chairman of Ogilvy, Miles Young, said, “There is no such thing as digital marketing and digital advertising; there is just good marketing and good advertising.”

I have to agree with him. In the highly competitive world of B2B marketing, your marketing outputs need to be creative enough to stand out from the thousands of company voices screaming for attention. Print may be the solution to this problem and here’s why:

Humans are tactile

We like to engage with printed materials because print media is still ingrained in our cognitive memory. Even with all the knowledge of the world available at the touch of our phone screens, we will still be attracted to print media, whether it is a flyer, brochure or a magazine.

Print has an emotional impact on us

Print involves more emotional processing, as physical materials produce more brain responses that are connected with feeling. A recent study in Canada, conducted by Canada Post and the neuromarketing firm True Impact, found that physical materials had higher review times, engagement, stimulation, memory retrieval, memory speed, willingness to purchase and had a higher value to the viewer. While digital still gained attention, engagement, memory retrieval and willingness to purchase, it failed to tick as many boxes as print did across the board.

Print is always on

Print media has pass-along exposure. In magazines and other similar types of publications, the media may live longer. For example, while you’re waiting in a hair salon or a doctor’s office, you might pick up an old edition of a magazine, which means your advertisement may still be viewed for months or years!

We still consume print media

More than half of Australian news readers consume their news in both print and digital. That means there are around nine million people that may be reading a newspaper, an article online, or both, so don’t rule it out of your output options just yet.

Many marketers think print is just a flat flyer or a brochure… but you can actually create unique experiences.

Just look at this Beer-y cool ad from Glacial. This ad physically let the reader speed up the beer-cooling process. All you had to do was soak the ad in water, wrap it around the bottle, and put it in the freezer. The print ad was made with salt particles, which reduce the freezing point of water.

Or this ad from Peugeot, which allowed the reader to experience a mini-airbag within the pages of a magazine after urging them to punch it!

Further, there are simple ways to actually track and measure the effectiveness of a print ad. For example, you can add a QR code or custom URL to trade conversions via the ad.

Using omnichannel in B2B

At the beginning of this blog, I asked how print, environmental and digital media can support each other in true omnichannel fashion.

Now, despite being unable to track results as comprehensively as digital, print can be beneficial in reaching specific audiences and providing an ideal brand platform. A digital-first approach isn’t always the best start to the journey in a campaign. As marketers, we should take advantage of the unique properties of both print and digital.

Omnichannel marketing uses the phases of research, audience identification, content creation, and data evaluation to adapt your campaign. It also involves different types of media, from landing pages and social media, to direct mail and billboards.

“That challenge of maintaining a consistent experience, of mapping the consumer over many different points of distribution, is the challenge we call omnichannel.” – Mark Ritson Click To Tweet

Omnichannel focuses on the consumer, brand consistency and user experience. It is about engaging with the consumer holistically through consistency and optimisation of the non-linear user experience while building the consumer’s trust with a brand.

Some brands that effectively use omnichannel marketing are Apple, Nike and Starbucks. While primarily B2C, they maintain consistent messaging and branding across all their channels.

When you engage with Apple, your experience is the same: from the packaging of the product to the interaction in a store. If you visit a Starbucks, the branding and customer service is consistent whether you are in Japan or New York.

How do we create a better user experience across all channels?

Put the audience first and focus on the consumer experience using data. Keep visual messaging and copy consistent across print, digital and environmental media. Give your audience a unique experience and connect with them across all media channels.

So what is the value of print B2B marketing and advertising? Put simply, it still matters. Through the use of an omnichannel approach, print can make a huge difference and impact the success of digital marketing and advertising.



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