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Why Print Still Works

We might be marching slowly towards it, but as yet none of us live in a purely digital world.

We handwrite birthday cards, we read books. When we get bills emailed to us, we print them off and stick them on the fridge.

The digital world hasn’t yet figured out ways to mimic the purposes these things serve. (The card is a personal touch. The book a tactile enjoyment. The printed bill is a reminder that works because it interferes in the physical, everyday world.) And we shouldn’t expect it to.

We like printed materials. Printed materials stick out in a world where so many messages come at us on a screen. They’re different, and they tend to stick around longer than the digital ones.

And when it comes to guiding someone along a certain part of your customer journey, they serve a very specific purpose – cementing the intimacy and credibility you need to build to create trust.

A printed leave-behind sales tool, in whatever shape it takes, is tangible. It engages more of the senses than a digital message – you can feel its weight in your hands and the texture of its surface, you can hear its pages turn. Printed in colour on good quality stock, it creates a perception of value. It says you believe in what you’re saying.

It’s also a powerful tool for engagement. Even if that engagement isn’t instant your brochure or whitepaper is likely to be left on a coffee table and picked up by the next person, or filed away to come back to later.

And it has real-life shareable potential – it can be passed around the office, a welcome distraction from an overflowing inbox.

You might get a customer’s attention online with animation or multimedia, but one click on another marketer’s message and they’re gone. In print you rely on good design and good content. And once you’ve hooked them in, they’re much less likely to go wandering off. I’m not suggesting your sales brochure has the emotional weight of a novel, but there’s definitely potential to connect on a more intimate level.

As part of a customer journey map steeped in Design Intelligence, print collateral builds credibility and intimacy – which work together to create trust. Print elicits a ‘human’ response that the digital can’t. Not yet.

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