There’s no denying the significance of digital marketing and its place in the modern marketing mix. However, the problem with a digital only strategy is that the digital ecosystem is severely overcrowded.

We get a staggering amount of digital communication each day, and messages sent 60 seconds ago are quickly replaced by the next tweet, email, or status update. On average, consumers see 3000 messages per day—and to think that your message is somehow filtered out and given preferential treatment isn’t realistic.

In a recent article by Scientific American, studies show that as we read, our brains comprehend text by correlating the message with the physical landscape of the tactile piece. When we see a message in print (versus a screen), our brains create a lasting memory response because the message’s landscape is tangible. Physical attributes of the tactile piece, such as thickness, shape, texture, the material’s surface, folds, and corners, help the brain form a mental map of the message. Simply put, potential customers can then follow that mental map back to your business.

Interrupting this proclivity for digital consumption creates a balance that will translate into stronger customer recall, retention, and brand association. Print is tangible, high-impact, high-ROI, and it stands out. Plus, it’s impervious to spam filters.

Best in class marketing starts with a strategy that gets in front of your customer or prospect and creates a moment that matters. Not just with digital, but across the entire marketing mix to deliver a superb customer-centric experience. Print is proven to have higher engagement and response metrics than digital alone, with an average response rate for direct mail at 4.4 percent, opposed to email’s 0.12 percent.

Why is direct mail one of the most effective ways to communicate with your customers?

Because it works.

A survey by Two Sides found that 70% of Americans prefer to read printed paper over a digital screen, with 67% preferring the feel of print media. Bringing the conversation offline through tactile marketing creates a stronger bond with customers and prospects than digital outreach alone.

Print media has a close relationship with its readers and it extends beyond the initial interaction. Print is easily put down and picked up; it has staying power because it’s read again and again by others that come across it.
Findings from a recent US Postal Service study validate just how important physical mail is to the average consumer. Each day, they open their mail with anticipation and give it their undivided attention. This ritual has been termed the ‘Mail Moment’ and understanding it, is helping marketers connect with consumers in a way that engages them in rich, personal marketing experiences.

–          98% of consumers bring in their mail the day it’s delivered.

–          77% sort through their mail immediately.

–          Consumers spend an average of 30 minutes reading their mail on any given occasion.

Print is more than just paper.

Print media extends well beyond business cards, brochures, and presentation folders. Print media includes a wide variety of promotional products like drink ware, electronics, pens, and apparel. Promotional items tend to have higher perceived value than paper products, so your customers are more likely to hold on to them longer. In fact, according to the Advertising Specialty Institute, 84% of Americans retain a company’s name when they receive a promotional item with that company’s logo on it.

That same Study found that 42% of recipients of promotional products have a more favorable impression of the advertiser and nearly 62% of those are more likely to do business with brands after receiving a promotional item from them. On average customers keep promotional products for 5.8 months.

Using either print or promotional items you can weave in digital channels to create an integrated marketing strategy. Print offers quick and simple ways to promote digital content using QR codes, SMS, Social, Web, PURLS, and even near-field communication.

These technologies form a bridge between print media and a brand’s online space, inviting customer reaction, feedback, and purchase. These innovations increase the effectiveness of print media, as well as enhancing the customer experience.

Here’s an example of a campaign for a medical office that hits on all cylinders of multi-channel greatness:

1. Direct mail piece lands in the homes of you potential customers.

2. % responds online and uses the offer code and form to request a new patient consultation.

3. This information is delivered to your staff, so your patient coordinators can call to confirm the request.

4. Completion of this call triggers an email to the customer that contains an attachment or link to new patient paperwork. You instruct the customer to fill it out which will speed up their check-in process the day of their appointment.

5. Once that paperwork is completed, you trigger the send of a reminder postcard. This postcard can be digitally printed which allows for short runs, variable data, and personalization. This postcard is a more premium method of reminding new patients of their upcoming appointment, and since it is their first experience, it sets the tone for a premium, caring practice.

6. For those who have not completed the form, you send a reminder email with the link to the paperwork.

7. After the appointment, you send them a VIP gift pack that contains product samples, a laminated loyalty card, and a promotional product with your logo. This final touch will reinforce your brand, strengthening their opinion of you, and increasing the likelihood of repeat visits and word of mouth marketing.

Successful marketing is all about engagement—drawing your customer in and then rewarding them with a worthwhile offer or service. 
Print media works because its outcome is aligned with the needs of the customer. When they engage with print, they’re investing time and attention, actively seeking information and value rather than allowing it to wash over them in a stream of digital unconsciousness.

Today’s successful marketer needs to be proficient at leveraging each channel’s intrinsic strengths in order to achieve the greatest impact and return on investment. When you add print to your marketing mix, you add power. You’ll create one-to-one marketing that will build and sustain valuable lifetime customer relationships.