Which is more effective: digital or print marketing?

Despite the popularity of digital everything—from music to recipes—several recent studies found that direct mail is easier to process and tested better for brand recall than digital marketing. Although print readership is down, 42 percent of recipients read or scan direct mail pieces. This translates into a 1, 2 or even 10 percent response rate. Digital ads come in at a poor second, getting on average 0.14 percent click through rate according to Target Marketing magazine.

According to the American Marketing Association, print is still a top-of-funnel medium. For instance, when you’re reading a magazine or newspaper you give it your undivided attention. But if you’re like most people, when you read something online your attention span is shorter and you might multi-task while sitting at the computer. Right? We’ve all done it: talk on the phone while browsing an article, or browse an article while checking our email or investment account, etc.

Specialty newsletters, postcards, magazines, direct mail pieces and journals provide a unique way to reach your audience. They establish brand identity and communicate directly with your identified target market.

A study sponsored by Canada Post and performed by the Canadian neuro-marketing firm TRUEIMPACT found that direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media (5.15 vs. 6.37), suggesting that it is both easier to understand and more memorable. Post-exposure memory tests validated what the cognitive load test revealed about direct mail’s memory encoding capabilities. When asked to cite the brand (company name) of an advertisement they had just seen, recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to a direct mail piece (75%) than a digital ad (44%).

Still, social media is very popular but you need to consider your audience. Who is your target market? Most likely, your customers are Baby Boomers. According to the Pew Research center:

  • 68 percent of all U.S. adults use Facebook
  • 28 percent of U.S. adults use Instagram
  • 26 percent of U.S. adults use Pinterest
  • 25 percent of U.S. adults use LinkedIn
  • 21 percent of U.S. adults use Twitter

Although paper can leave a lasting impression on the reader, digital is more diverse, encompassing instant access, video, audio, and great graphics.

Ideally, marketing natural products and nutritional supplements to Baby Boomers should include the unique properties of both paper and digital. This age group is more likely to sit down with a cup of coffee and browse through a direct mail piece about anti-aging, prostate health, staving off mental decline and cancer than someone in their 30s or 40s. At the same time, that Baby Boomer might browse the internet for a product to help with a sudden health crisis.

One idea is to offer products aimed at chronic health issues and overall health support through a direct mail piece that will sit on the dining room table and enjoy longevity. A direct mail piece gives readers time to think about their health concerns without having to make a snap decision. On the other hand, someone might search online for a product to support a specific health issue or newly diagnosed illness, make a snap decision and then click the “order” button.

So don’t discount print marketing. It is very much alive and well. Using a combination of digital and print marketing will target your market from every angle.

I can provide copywriting for digital and print marketing 

  • Postcards are a particularly good way to let your readers know about specials.
  • Newsletters include in-depth information and scientific studies.
  • Magazine ads include attractive graphics and snappy copy that clearly explains the benefits.
  • Brochures include consumer information such as where to buy the product and bullet points explaining the benefits.
  • Websites provide a story about your company and a listing of all your products and what they do.
  • Blogs update the reader on new studies and new products and help keep your company “looking young.”

Do you have an idea you’d like to pursue? Let’s talk about it.

Contact me today: healthwriter1@gmail.com



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