Value of print and digital marketing – Presentation Notes

This morning, I headed into Manchester to meet up with some of the team from Culture Calling, (thanks Donna for the invite!) whom I’ve worked on marketing campaigns in the past. They were doing a presentation and chat on integrated print and digital campaigns and I got plenty of notes, so I decided to pop them up here for future marketing reference.

The first section focused pretty heavily on print marketing and why it continues to work even though we live in an increasingly all-encompassing digital world.

Direct marketing spend year on year by companies continues to go up overall.

Most effective marketing channels – Search engine marketing 66%, Offline channels 57%

Case Study time!

Canada Mail and Impact Marketing tested the same campaign with two groups of people.

  • One only received direct print drops and direct mail
  • The other received email and were served digital ads

They found there was more positive motivation to act from people who had received physical print:

  •  More likely to notice the brand name elsewhere
  •  More positive association with the brand
  • People found there was less effort involved in reading paper than digital
  • The positive associations were most noticeable in the 30-49 range

Higher print stock quality also had a positive impact so how people perceived the quality of the brand.

However, when it came to how much people said they would miss advertising if it was not presented to them (and yes, people do miss advertising when it’s not there) charities came in roughly equal for digital (9%) and print (10%)

Issues with digital ads versus print

Digital ads, esp MPUs, banners etc. tend to pull the eye to different parts of the page. In comparison, print (well-designed print) is linear and therefore more calming to read through. It creates a more intuitive process in the brain, which also means more understanding and engagement.

Haptic qualities

The mind creates a deeper emotional response to something it can touch or feel. This links back to print quality effect – better quality, better feeling paper/card.

Marketing longevity

According to a Royal Mail study, a piece of marketing print is kept, on average, for 38 days in a house, and 23% of print is shared between multiple members of a household, meaning that there is a high value for money in the print.


Outdoor display, print advertising (newspapers, magazines etc.) and media (TV, radio etc,) are forms a passive engagement. People are served these adverts whilst in the process of doing something else. Physical print is, like direct mail, social media/search advertising, are active engagement – you make the decision to do something to engage with them.

However, this certainly doesn’t mean that digital advertising isn’t worth it – just that it needs to be treated differently, not better or worse. Print is an anchor for your audience, and you can boost its effectiveness with digital marketing.

Digital advertising can show immediately who/what/where your audience is, but you can do this with print in different ways, because you control exactly where the print goes in terms of drivetime from your venue/event, specific public locations etc.

One case study that was briefly discussed involved a leaflet drop in multiple postcode sectors, with a different offer code for different areas to help track success rates.

Consider how a piece of print can be useful in multiple ways, for example, if advertising to a literary crowd, think about making a bookmark, or a paper ruler from school bag drops. Colouring sheets are great for family audiences. Postcard books for multiple events, map guides – you need to make things that people will have a reason to want to keep hold of.


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